What does it sound like?:
‘Nothing is Ok, I’m going through a phase’
These days it must be very difficult being in a band. How high do you aim? What translates as success? These days, most indie bands would probably be happy with a top 20 single and a top 10 album, such is the way that ‘guitar-driven’ music has fallen out of favour. Still, no matter what you think, there is always something different – not necessarily new – to say when you’re in a band,
Neon Waltz are an indie-sextet, hailing from every long-distance charity cyclist’s favourite place in Scotland. Their debut album, ‘Strange Hymns’ was released on Friday, just in time for their non-appearance at Reading or Leeds. Its production duties are spread liberally between five different sets of people, including Mike Rowe and Howie Payne, presumably as a result of recording in different studios.
The album begins with a short interlude of haunted-rumbling (like ‘Down in the Tube Station’ walking through the Necropolis) before the opening notes of ‘Sundial’ burst into life. It is a strong track to introduce the album and the first thing that grabs your attention are Jordan Shearer’s vocals. The arrangement is concise and clear, and the band appear to be fond of the musical ‘drop-out’ if the follow up, ‘Dreamer’s is anything to go by. The tempo is slowed, and the quality quickly lowered with the predicable ‘Perfect Frame’ which along with ‘You and Me’ is arguably weakest track on the album.
A drum-roll and staccato guitar brings up back with ‘Bare Wood Aisles’ which is full of interesting musical ideas which never quite come off. Following on from the previously mentioned ‘You and Me’, ‘Sombre Fayre’ is forgetful, so I won’t write anything about it.
If we’re still in the business of predicting singles, I’d put money on ‘Bring Me To Light’ as being given an airing on the Radio 1 Chart Show in the near future (or past). That, and ‘Heavy Heartless’ which immediately follows are two of the strongest tracks on the album and resurrect a sagging middle.
We end finally, with ‘Folklore’ and ‘Veiled Clock’. Neither of which outstay their welcome, but the latter is a disappointment and anti-climax at the end of a gruelling thirty-six mintutes.
What does it all *mean*?
All in all, I liked four out of ten songs on the album. You of course, may have an entirely different opinion to me. This album wont see them break America, nor top any polls at the end of the year. But it will definitely pay the rent for the next twelve months at least. After that I imagine them splitting up to focus on solo-projects which never really see the light of day, or forging careers as music teachers in nearby colleges.
Goes well with…
The feeling you’re surrounded by midges.
Might suit people who like…
NME telling them what to listen to, championing up-and-coming indie-bands regardless of their musical merit.