Good words are seemingly only heard when people talk about UK indie band WhiteMoor, and having our introduction to them through their new album Pause and Effect, it is easy to see and hear why. The bands third full-length consists of eleven highly accomplished and creatively sculpted songs which are not always instantly striking but work away with a persistently enticing air and lingering tempting. So many of them come with hooks which just get under the skin, often unknowingly, and even if without such potent tempting, the band’s tracks make the most endearing companions.
Derby based WhiteMoor began in 2010, formed by guitarist Barrington Mole who quickly linked up with vocalist Benny Ryan. With the band’s line-up completed by bassist Luke Inglis, drummer Tom Scribbins, and keyboardist Louise Tomlinson by 2012, the quintet soon sparked fan attention with early singles and a self-titled debut album. A stirring of radio and media attention was not far behind either, especially as the following year in 2013, the band unveiled second album Horizons with again a host of well-received singles before and after only reinforcing their emergence on the British rock scene. Pause and Effect now feels like the key to awakening the broadest national awareness. From start to finish it is a heftily enthralling and lively proposition which just gets stronger and more persuasive with every listen.
By those already aware of the band, Pause and Effect is said to find the band exploring a heavier guitar driven sound with darker tones around the contagious hooks, fiery melodies, and mesmeric harmonies the band is already renowned for. Opener Hollywood certainly backs that claim up in potent style, the song from a gentle and evocative breeze of guitar and keys brewing up into a stomping cascade of energy and rhythmic enticement. The guitars continue to wrap the thick beats with their own new intensity and rigour, squeezing out infectious hooks and fiery enterprise with ease. With the mellower but no less feisty vocals of Ryan, backed strongly by those of Mole and Tomlinson, a great contrast to the sturdier and more voracious air of the music, the song grows and increasingly seduces with passion and creative tenacity.
The great start is matched by A Cage for the Animals next, it too a swift potent lure from its first breath though this time with a more aggressive touch before slipping into an expressive and melodically driven canter. It reveals a grungier essence with its increasing incitement on ears and body, but also a character which has glimpses of bands like Manic Street Preachers and Feeder to it. Though as the first song, and many others, there is something indefinably familiar to certain aspects of the song, it never feeds expectations, only refreshing itself and ears with every magnetic turn.
Both Dark Sparks and Be the Last keep things bubbling nicely, the first surrounding a pulsating bassline with shimmering keys, emotively hued vocals, and a sparking and immersive caresses of guitar. It too has a snarl and intensity to it, though restraining them into a more melancholic but still lively stroll. The keys of Tomlinson are compelling, at times almost Devo-esque in their imagination and touch, and as the album, the song evolves into a major tempting over time. Its successor slips into ears with an electro pop like coaxing, the keys again providing something to intrigue and wrong-foot whilst the rest of the band craft a more concentrated drama of their own. Once more ears feel they know the song as it unveils its charms but thoughts find no reason why and the appetite cares little as it devours another engrossing proposal.
The emotive smoulder of Codes comes next, the song revealing a whiff of Brit pop to its vocally shapely and melodically skilled body. Though it does not fire up personal tastes as successfully as those before it, the song only shows more of the depth and impressive songwriting of the band before the similarly less commanding Ghosts satisfies without igniting that extra spark. There is no escaping the individual and united craft weaving its clean and musically poetic enticement though, or that in its predecessor She Makes Me Fly, a seductive kiss on ears with plenty of twists and invention to keep the imagination glued.
All get simply outshone by the irresistible God Help the Queen though. It opens with an Echo and The Bunnymen hued lure of keys and a rich melodic hook, its rhythms also carrying the darker shadows of the Liverpool band before exposing body and emotions to a tantalising and rousing chorus. The song is just glorious, with the opening clutch of songs a major peak in the album’s landscape, and alone a good enough reason to go explore Pause and Effect.
The pair of Only Human and Masquerade provide good reasons too, the first an emotive melodic hug you only want to sink deeper into and the second a flame of fuzzy key bred atmospherics, caustic guitar tones, and magnetic vocals and harmonies, all tempered by another juicy dark bassline. Every song shows another fresh glimpse to the prowess and inventive depth of the band’s sound and imagination, the latter of this two revealing the band can turn their hand to more aggressive textures with ease.
Concluded by Until Tomorrow, a strong and masterful slice of melancholic balladry, Pause and Effect is a rich and constantly rewarding release. Certainly some songs for personal tastes lack the spark of others and thus the success, but each only grip and fascinate with, as the album itself, increasing potency over every listen. If WhiteMoor is new to you, than their new album is worth plenty of your intrigue and attention whilst for existing fans Pause and Effect shows the band in yet another creative light; looks like everyone is a winner.