It may only be four songs but the debut release from British indie rock band Alpha Shallows suggests a fruitful union between the band’s sound and the appetites of the adventurous music public is on the cards. To be fair, Set The Fires already establishes that connection with its shadowed wrapped and emotionally powered roars, each song getting under the skin in varying but forceful degrees to tap into the psyche and awaken a lusty appetite for the band’s stirring sound. The EP is beguiling and a thickly enticing introduction to the dark imagination of Alpha Shallows.
The Leeds/Wakefield hailing and early 2014 formed Alpha Shallows is the creation of vocalist Craig Walker, bassist Gary Hargreaves, guitarist Paul Joice, and drummer Ben Hewitt formerly of metallers Boneyard Babies. Their backgrounds bring an array of styles and influences into a sound which itself is a tapestry of textures and colours within melancholic beauty. Since emerging, the band has become a potent attraction on the Yorkshire live scene with tracks being supported by the likes of BBC Introducing in North and West Yorkshire. Set the Fires is the national wake-up call and one hard to imagine going unnoticed.
It opens up with the evocatively gorgeous and emotionally intensive Temper, a track epitomising that ability of the band’s sound to get right under the skin. A lone guitar caresses ears first, its tone immediately melancholy coloured as that tempting continues to beckon ears even as the air around it gets more turbulent. The voice of Walker is a just as swift and strong persuasion, his entrance stirring up a fiery and rousing air wearing the scent of Deftones, Life of Agony, and Damn Vandals to it. In full flow, the track flows through shadowed calm and emotional volatility with ease, the sounds matching the intensity of the song’s lyrical narrative and heart every step of the way. It is simply superb, a mighty start to the release and thrilling first touch of the band’s imagination and craft.
The EP’s title track steps up next to match the triumph of its predecessor, the song an immediately livelier affair showing eager beats and sultry guitar enterprise within its first few breaths. The bass of Hargreaves adds another thick lure as the track explores a Doors/Birthday Party spiced slice of indie rock, though there is much more to the contagion and tenacious swing of the rich incitement on ears and hips. Listener involvement is a quick success too, the chorus alone inescapable bait as the impressive start to the release continues.
Solace steps forward next providing a tantalising smoulder of a croon as gentle and seductive melodies entangle ears and appetite alongside the ever potent and emotively intensive vocals. There is something wonderfully familiar to the track and indeed the whole EP but as yet an essence we have yet to pin down whilst basking in its inviting hue within the equally magnetic invention of Alpha Shallows. The dark serenade continues to mesmerise and seduce, increasingly so with every listen, a success emulated in the closing tempest of Flatline, another merging of elegant almost maudlin tempting with rousing endeavour and energy to enjoyably consume body and emotions.
Whereas the first two songs explode in the imagination and appetite right away, growing more imposing with every listen, the final pair takes their time to induce the same greed for their bewitching majesty but certainly rising to the same heights over numerously rewarding listens. All four songs also reveal the rich craft and adventure of the band’s sound and songwriting whilst suggesting there is still much more to come.
It seems like the end of 2015 is unveiling some of its best introductions and biggest treats with Set the Fires right there on the frontline.
The Set the Fires EP is released December 11th via iTunes and most online stores.
Upcoming live dates:
16th January – Carpe Diem, Leeds
22nd January – The Library, Leeds
Pete RingMaster 10/12/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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