Tagged as an EDM pop quartet, we had certain assumptions about the sound of South African band ALWAYS US going into their forthcoming debut album, Aurum. What we discovered was an enterprise and craft rich rock band with a potent sense of variety to their sound.
Indeed the Durban-based quartet revealed their music was as keen to embrace flavours such as funk, melodic and alt rock as share its pop and electronic breeding, merging it with an imagination which gave every song within Aurum real individuality but also uniting them in a clear ALWAYS US identity of sound.
Consisting of vocalist/bassist Tanner Kelly-Stack, vocalist/keyboardist Wanine Zovitzkey, guitarist Matthew Andre and drummer/album producer Daniel Philogene, ALWAYS US spent the last year working on their first full-length. From its writing and sound to production they took every moment to hone its richest possibilities and that comes over in the listening. It has layers of captivation and enterprise which are aligned with organic and instinctive invention, a craft ensuring that each subsequent listen from the first brought a fresh and enjoyable experience.
The release starts with Run and immediately wraps an electronic tempting around ears as Kelly-Stacks magnetic tones step forward. With bold rhythms and inviting melodies, the track swiftly drew keen attention with its infectious attributes enticing movement. Gentle with a calm but lively breath, the song was not forceful in its persuasion but firmly took hold all the same just as the following Into the night, an electro pop serenade with a sense of drama which was soon embraced by the bold stroll of the track within its atmospheric shimmer. With the alternating thoughts of both vocalists echoing the track’s contrasting yet uniting textures, the track carried a punchy tempting as it took favourite song honours.
Across the ethereal skies of Waiting Game and the boldly manipulative Make it okay, ALWAYS US revealed more of their varied and inventive enterprise. The first song with a funk kilned swing was soon proving as catchy as it was melodically crystalline and atmospherically captivating while the second with a great rhythmic nagging and its melodically magnetic tempting found no reticence in an embrace of its beauty.
Once more we found ourselves instinctively hooked on the rhythmic resourcefulness of the band as Other One came forward next, the bubbly ballad unafraid to add some hip hop and alt rock essences to its adventure before Going Under took ears on an emotional musing through a landscape of anxiety hues shadows and melodic cast hope. It too has rich adventure to its character and body which is matched in the vocal diversity and that ever compelling rhythmic incitement; the song firmly challenging that previous best song choice.
With Let you go weaving a charming seduction with a sense of volatility in its heart and High serenading ears and thoughts with poetic beauty and melodic grace around its own emotive and physical tempestuousness, Aurum came to a close as dextrously, strongly and as impressively as it began.
ALWAYS US is a band sure to be an unknown for an extensive audience outside of their homeland’s rock scene but with the rich promise and quality within Aurum and indeed more adventures like it, you can only feel the world will be opening up to this exciting band in short time.
Aurum is released February 24th.
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Pete RingMaster 20/02/2023
Copyright RingMaster Review
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