You may have been recently caught up in the growing buzz around UK rockers Phoenix Calling through the release of the singles Everybody Knows and just recently Wasted. It has been attention brewing up for the Cambridgeshire quintet for a while now thanks to their live performances and the Waves EP of early 2014, and sure to gain new acceleration with the release of the band’s debut album Forget Your Ghosts. A collection of seriously accomplished and captivating melodic rock encounters, the album provides evidence of a band with the talent and potential to make a major mark on the UK rock scene, and itself give it a healthy impressive nudge to start widespread awareness off.
Formed in 2012, the Peterborough band draw on inspirations from the likes of Deaf Havana, Mallory Knox, and Fightstar to colour their instinctively infectious sound. With a musicianship as flavoursome as their music, Phoenix Calling able too potently play over fifteen different instruments as a collective unit, the band as mentioned released a pair of eagerly received singles earlier this year, tasters for the album which have alone sparked a fresh and broader appetite for the band’s presence. The first of the two songs alone received airplay on nearly 80 stations across the globe. This has been complimented before and since by a live presence which is just as eagerly praised and supported, the likes of The First, We Are Fiction, Tu Amore, White Clouds and Gunfire, and Under the Influence amongst many sharing stages with Phoenix Calling whilst the band itself has also headlined the main stage at Peterborough’s Willow Festival and played the BBC Introducing Stage at Cambridge Rock Fest. Now it is the turn of Forget Your Ghosts to stir up a fuss, something it will surely do with its thick and open qualities.
The album opens with Ab Initio, and proof that if you are going to make the opening track an instrumental intro it works so much better if it makes some kind of call to arms that lures ears and imagination into eager readiness for the upcoming adventure. That is exactly what Phoenix Calling achieve, guitars alone a tangy seducing which has appetite and intrigue hungry for the appearance of the following Hold Onto Glory which emerges from the sonic wind of the opener. The same flavoured hooks and grooves instantly again come into play as do warm melodies which welcome the vocal prowess of Steve Chapman backed by the also strong tones of guitarist Dom Greenwood. The latter and Martyn Hilliam are just as swift in unveiling fiery tendrils of sonic enterprise and raw riffery within the rhythmically striking encounter too, it all uniting in one strongly enticing and richly satisfying start to the album.
Traces steps up next and the thumping beats of drummer Benedict Greenwood straight away mark the song, sinew swung swings and precise timing strong bait within a quickly growing emotive atmosphere. Vocals and guitars spin a colourful incitement to the awakening exploit whilst an emerging dark bassline from Jason Howard lays magnetic shadows in the sonic and melodic blaze skilfully conjured by the band. As its predecessor, there arguably are few real surprises within the song but its freshness and creative vitality brings a gripping persuasion which again floods Awakening, another short potent piece which really is the introduction to the excellent Bring The Roof Down. With an epic feel to its climate and an intimacy to its quieter reflections, the song is a tangle of keenly striding beats, flowing melodies, and spicy hooks, all switching and uniting across the anthemic and dramatic cry of the track.
Hitting a new plateau for the album, it is emulated by the two recent singles which come next, starting with Wasted Life. As the last song there is a skilled and attention grabbing mix of contrasting textures combining for an infectious slice of pop rock, rhythms the aggressive bait within a cloak of harmonic and sonic adventure. Group roars and emotively honed expression only add to the lure of the song, a mix similarly seeded but differently explored in the outstanding Everybody Knows. As contagious as it is melodically raucous, the song ignites ears and emotions with consummate ease with rich flames of impassioned and enthralling enterprise built on technical tenacity.
Both the rhythmically pungent Other Side and the virulently infectious We Were Young keep ears excited and a highly pleasing inventiveness coming; the second of the two especially dramatic in sound and imagination whilst their successor Angel provides a more subdued but emotionally fiery presence. With intensely firm beats and a melancholic bass tone, there is still that emotional energy which almost rumbles within the fiery croon of the song. Mellower it might be but in impact the track is as potent as any on Forget Your Ghosts.
Still We Wait installs itself as a favourite next with its muscular and rugged landscape of rhythms, and an energy which stokes feet and emotions into action within moments. The most imposing and robust track on the album it does not sell the listener short on rich melodies and spicy imagination either, arguably emerging as the most rounded and potent song on the release.
The closing These Days provides a final creative bluster to devour happily but it is after the blast of stark and haunting sonic wind when the song comes alive, the track returning with new colour and seductive intensity to leave ears and emotions basking.
Though a few times there is some sameness between elements of different songs and the occasional familiarity to outside offerings which keeps the band nearer to the crowd then it could be, Forget Your Ghosts does everything right in providing a fascinating and increasingly pleasing proposition. It feels like this is the start of the true rise of Phoenix Calling, and the perfect place for all to climb on board.
Forget Your Ghosts is available now via The Fort Records on CD and digitally through most online stores.
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