When the opening track Get Me There from Towns’ debut album Get By hit the ear it must be admitted that the defences rose up just a touch as a mesh seemingly bred from the world of Madchester consumed the ears. It was not an abhorrent proposition but seemingly recalling a scene happily left lonely in our thoughts many years ago. It has to be said though that through time, even within the first encounter with the release, the Bristol based band’s first album has seduced doubts and resistance to emerge as a rather riveting proposition. It has not defused all reservations but standing as a unique proposition in sound even with its heavy essences of The Stone Roses, the Charlatans, and a Shaun Ryder-esque swoon, the album is a magnetic call within which certainly extra additives of The House Of Love and My Bloody Valentine help the persuasion.
Formed by childhood friends, Towns has had a shed load of experiences since forming to test any band’s perseverance and confidence. From being declared as the best new band of 2011 by NME after just a pair of demos and no live shows, the band endured a former booking agent running off with over £1000 of the their money to almost bring the band to a stop and after having the high of working with Owen Morris (Oasis, Verve), seeing the label paying the costs being swallowed up by a major to their detriment. It seems to have made Towns only stronger though as they continue to draw acclaim and attention. Live their performances, which have seen them alongside the likes of Paul Weller, Spiritualized, The Twang, Toy, and Eagulls, has only enhanced their presence and emergence something expectations assume Get By will accelerate.
The first impressive thing about the Towns sound and release, is the wall of scuzz seeded sound which glazes every note and imaginative swell within their songs. It makes for an almost mesmeric wash which the smooth smouldering vocals accentuate and blossoms within, something which definitely shines from within opener Get Me There. Emerging from a sonic mist with a grinning bassline and fiery guitars, there is an immediate swagger to the song, its rhythmic shoulders swinging and confidence almost arrogant within distorted melodies. It is an appealing lure but sounding so close to earlier bands mentioned and holding a Happy Monday’s like irreverence that it lies dormant against personal appetites even if winning over attention easily. To be honest the song does become more potent and enticing over time but always there is something stopping a full recruitment to its charms as subsequently achieved by other tracks. Nevertheless with its eager gait and thick breath of sound it makes a welcoming lead into the following Marbles.
The second song springs from a scythe of feedback with a percussive shake and acidic guitar flames before settling into a tender coaxing. It is smouldering lure which erupts into climactic expulsions of intensity and raw guitar enterprise as vocals simmer and glide with mellow countenance. The bass as with the first song stands out, this time with a rapacious edge whilst the guitars scorch air and senses with impressive endeavour which a cavernous production cannot deflate. It is an intriguing and gripping track which flows seamlessly into the throaty prowl of Trip Over. Like a blend of its predecessors, the song strides with sureness in attitude and sound which worms away under the skin, the album already at this point causing a reassessment of earlier thoughts. There is causticity to the song as in the previous one, which brings thoughts of Birdland to the surface.
Both Gone Are The Days and Just Everything add new raucous invention to the album, the first unveiling a blues toxicity which permeates every riff and flaring of guitar sculpting to great effect, whilst the second brings a sultry twang to its melodic bait again to carve an engagingly infectious persuasion. The surface feel and touch of Town’s songs do carry a too familiar edge amongst themselves and to other bands previously mentioned, but in their belly a cauldron of enterprise and instinctive invention is diversely at work, you just have to look closer.
Too Tired emerges from a crystalline resonance soaked sky to sway and swirl over the senses, its body a temptress and voice a spellbinding waltz which caresses with elegant expression and warm invasive melodies before making way for the thrilling Young At Heart. Its opening tasty groove is irresistible and again has that Birdland like lilt to captivate from its first intensive note. From there the song discovers a harmonious sixties beauty to its enticing which in turn coaxes a greater richness in vocals and sonic colour from within the song. The album is at its pinnacle in its middle as evidenced by this pair and Heads Off with its delicious gnarly riffs aligned to floating melodies and vocal harmonies. In full stroll the song is a raw and abrasing treat which its soothing twists revitalise for another hungry devouring of the caustic rub of the excellent track.
The emotive call of Mirror Ghost slowly envelopes ears and thoughts next, its loud provocative whisper casting a melancholic smile which tantalises the imagination and to a lesser degree emotions. It is a slow burner which convinces in proportion to its creative growth especially the further it drifts into a sonic antagonism, and though it lacks the spark of previous songs it is impossible to not find a good appetite for it.
The final two tracks just do not have the same reach and success, Everyone’s Out which features Robin Stewart (The Naturals), Dom Mitchison (Velcro Hooks), and Richard Clarke (Scarlett Rascal) feeding rather than exciting expectations and the reflective part acoustic, part sonically messy title track, a disappointing end to what turned out to be a rather thrilling and enjoyable encounter. The last two songs will easily please other appetites though whilst Get By as a whole is a release it is fair to say brings a slice of fiery sun to anyone’s day.
Get By is available on limited 12” vinyl (100) and cd from Howling Owl Records as well as digitally from online retailers now!
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