It is hard not to get a little over excited when listening to a band for the first time and they spark a potent fire inside with honest and passionate music. Such is the case with Irish band Able Archer and their deeply impressive EP Bullets. The release is four tracks of inventive alternative rock which is as thoughtful as it is infectious and accomplished as it is compellingly imaginative; it is quite simply a richly thrilling encounter.
From Dublin, the band formed in 2011 and went through six months of line-up changes before finding themselves a settled quintet. In no time after the band was gigging extensively around their home city and earning an eager and strongly growing fan base as well as accompanying acclaim. With the release of the outstanding Bullets EP it is easy to declare the band is at the threshold of something major in their near horizon but also one suspects right on target.
The EP opens with Superhuman, a song which takes mere breath lengths of time to intrigue and secure concentrated attention through its inviting keys and expressive melodic enticement. It is a gentle enriching brew to start off the song soon evolving into a broader canvas for the heart of the track to unveil its colour. Stepping back into a reserved yet still keen energy, the vocals of Emmet McCaughey open the narrative and again impressed is the first thought at work. His tone and delivery hits the spot with strength and emotive poise, and with the throaty bass of Diarmuid Breathnach walking the electronic breeze of Neil Buckley, soon joined by the acidic shards of elegant guitar invention of Rob McDonnell, it is a mesmeric and refreshing encounter. There is a slight familiarity to the chorus it has to be said but a fleeting thought as the song continues to dance on the senses with elevated precision and seductive majesty throughout. It is a mighty opening to the EP which sets a high bar for the remaining songs.
The title track steps up next with the rhythmic tempting of Seán O’Connor carefully spearing another emotive wash of keys. The vocals are soon employed and throwing a passionate narrative into the expanse of building energy and melodic discovery. Arguably the song feels bigger and deeper than it is but that only confirms the might of the songwriting and its realisation whilst the caustic almost discord tainted invention which lines the call of the guitar, ignites a hunger to learn and feel more of song and band.
Third song Patches is the pinnacle of the release, the most impressive and insatiably contagious fascination offered. It starts with a slow tantalising piece of melodic and lyrical reflection, both McCaughey and McDonnell playing with and securing thoughts and emotions well before the keys tease with their own seductive caress. It is mere moments before the song captures the fullest rapture with persuasion firmly sealed with the cutting scuzz surfaced guitar strikes and adventure alongside the outstanding vocals. It is a magnetic stroll through a provocative and stylish soundscape, a masterful piece of invention igniting full ardour.
Closing track, The Great Henry Watt is a flume of electro flames seeded with an eighties breath through a passion soaked heart. Impossibly easy to ride its waves of melodic and vocal expression, the song reminds very strongly of Poets Of The Fall, never a bad thing and especially incendiary when added to the open imaginative talents of Able Archer.
The Bullets EP is an exceptional introduction to a band we are sure to hear a lot more of. Able Archer cut a scintillating figure with their stirring sound and has all the potential to stand prominently within European alternative/melodic rock.
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