Word of mouth has suggested there is a buzz brewing around a particular emerging talent from the city of Manchester; a suggestion backed up by the band’s UK tour last year, and now we can say that all good things heard about Forty Four Hours are true and more. Our evidence comes in the band’s debut EP, Only Just Holding On, a four track adventure of alternative rock ‘n’ pop that grips ears and imagination from so many angles that you need a map to pinpoint them all.
Formed in the February of 2014, Forty Four Hours consists of twin brothers Joe (vocals/keys/bass) and Alex Holden (vocals/guitar) alongside Alix Foden (drums). The band’s first single Earl Gray awoke numerous sets of ears and appetites for the band’s distinctive sound, a success matched by a quickly enthused over live presence incorporating that aforementioned tour around the UK amongst numerous more shows culminating in joining Funeral For A Friend on the Doc Marten’s #standforsomething tour. Last year saw the band, alongside continuing their hunger to play live, set about recording their debut EP; a release described by Joe recently as “a radical left turn from the bands earlier material. If anything, this record is quite a bit darker, it expresses a lot of stuff we’ve needed to say for the past year: writing it has been really cathartic. We’ve tried not to make you cry though. We really got to experiment with this record, so expect the unexpected.”
Musically it is hard to say the EP is a particularly dark proposition, its lively and busy enterprise an adventurous smile on the ears but certainly lyrically the band is unafraid to delve into emotive shadows. It opens up with Hold Out, a song quickly setting out the EP’s stall in sound, tone, and imagination. As suggested, the Forty Four Hours proposal is openly distinctive, something boldly away from the crowd though imagine Mallory Knox and The Police getting down and intense and you get a clue to the virulently contagious roar of their EP and sound. The opener makes its first touch with drama lined and slightly moody keys crossed by spicy guitar, their potent union continuing as the quickly gripping tones of Joe, backed as potently by the voice of Alex, capture the imagination with the song’s narrative. In no time the track has engulfed attention with its rich temptation of guitar and vocals alongside shadowy textures cast by bass and beats, it all laced with magnetic hooks and wrapped in an irresistible catchiness.
The following Difficult is of a similar breed but swiftly showing unique character with punchy beats aligned to funk bred guitar and bass enterprise. Soon throbbing with its thick contagion loaded swagger, the song also embraces more of the dark drama of its predecessor though it is cleverly tempered by sparkling keys and the increasingly magnetic vocal enterprise bred within the band. Like its predecessor, it has body and emotions exhausted such the involvement lured but Pressure & Sleep soon allows a breath to be taken with its mellower romancing of the senses. The third song is just as keen to weave bolder energy and tenacious creative deeds into its swinging shuffle though, resulting in another infectious seduction if with a modicum of reserve to its compelling presence.
The Time And The Place completes the line-up of Only Just Holding On; it another feisty romp as devilish for the dance-floor as a single set of speakers with Forty Four Hours only confirming their ability to write and sculpt songs that warmly demand attention and incite eager involvement from all before them. As the EP, everything about the song hits the sweet spot; all the time suggesting we have something special within our ears from a band with the potential to soon be a well-spoken name in the clutches of acclaim.
The self-released Only Just Holding On EP is available from January 22nd @ https://fortyfourhours.bandcamp.com/
Pete Ringmaster 22/01/2016
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