Through their EPs and singles UK alternative band Tall Ships has garnered strong praise and inspired an equally enthused anticipation for their debut album Everything Touching. With the release the trio has matched and exceeded expectations with a mesmeric piece of inventive songwriting and craft which thrills and excites across its precise and imaginative presence. It has one drooling with discord laced sonic scorching, robust and instinctive rhythms, and enveloping atmospheres, all brought with intrigue and at times slightly unusual but always successful ideas.
The trio from Brighton/Cornwall fuse a tight and infectious weave of alternative, math, and indie rock into even more acutely gripping conjurations to dazzle and incite the senses. Previous EP There Is Nothing But Chemistry Here arguably was the moment the band lit interest in their sounds on a wider level, something which Everything Touching one can only assume, will accelerate dramatically. The album offers songs which are intricate and clever but never with a hint of indulgence or waste to their composition and realisation. They are like a latter day version of early XTC fused with the technical hooky hunger of Baddies and the expressive touch of Letters, a mix which simply lights up the air. The songs in whatever shade of imagination they come in are a heated breath of individuality to immerse within or share emotions with, usually both.
The album starts with the first single from the release, T=O. It is a hypnotic taunt of sonically scything guitar strokes and brooding rhythms which are as persistent as they are a niggling joy. A bruising slice of noise pop brought with a flowing melodic caress the track removes itself from the coarse rub to place a warm elegant kiss from keys and vocals on the ear. It sends shivers down the spine before the re-emerging abrasive pleasure returns to lift the intensity and temperature once again. It is a wholly contagious start as incendiary as it is a smouldering.
The following instrumental Best Ever is equally irresistible, its opening crunching energy and rampant beats alongside dazzling sonic pick pocketing of the senses the illegitimate offspring from parts of the Go 2 album from XTC. Like the opener the hypnotic bulk of its body finds the piece harsh in its touch but delicious in the effect. The sudden repose into solitary guitar strokes is un predicted and time for thought before the return to the almost corrosive flight of the track returns for a sizzling crescendo.
Next up Phosphorescence and Oscar spark further fires inside, the first a dazzling and almost disorientating wash of melodic freshness and eager passion surrounding another deliciously resonating citrus sonic niggle whilst the second jangles with a flattened hook and grumpy bass sound behind warm and soothingly tender harmonies and melodies. The tang to its flavouring is again XTC like, reminding of the Drums And Wires through to English Settlement era.
The album includes two re-workings of songs released on the earlier EPs in Ode To Ancestors and Books, both with a different face to their body and openly hungrier without losing their former potency. The first of the pair is a lovely brew of emotive whispers leading to choppy golden pokes of sound and soaring harmonies and impossible not to be enamoured with through the breeze of the song and its open heart.
The ending stomp of the song is repeated in a different gait in Gallop, the last single from the album. It is a romping rebel rouser of thoughts and reflective feelings brought with a hint of mischief and contented acceptance. After this point the album feels like it shifts its intent, the final four songs of the album shimmering and immersive cuts of shining harmonics and teasing melodies without the greedy appetite to raise a little storm. They also do not quite match the triumph of the earlier songs but all leave one basking in pleasure and gratitude with the closing Murmurations just aural poetry of evocative sounds with a slowly rising intensity and towering grandeur.
Everything Touching is an outstanding release and Tall Ships a band to be watched and enjoyed very closely now and in the future, a band to surprise, thrill, and leave you gasping.
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