As release by release they have realised and pushed on the promise which came with their first steps into the UK rock scene, Of Allies has similarly step by step grown into one of the most riveting and exciting prospects within its grasp. Because of the potential and craft shared through their previous EPs, and enjoyment found, anticipation for their first album has been patient and increasingly eager with the reward being one rather wonderful encounter going by the name of Night Sky.
Emerging in 2013, Of Allies soon had intrigue and pleasure stoked with the release of their first EP, Tempers the following year. It was a beyond solid and skilfully accomplished introduction which suggested bigger and bolder things to come, that suggestion part realised and supported by its successor, the Fragments EP in 2015. Everything has now come together within Night Sky, all the promise and craft uniting with adventurous enterprise for a kaleidoscope of sound and imagination where you know there is still a tease of even bigger, bolder things to come.
Night Sky opens with its title track, an atmospheric invitation cast by the guitars of Tom Hewson and Rich Nichols against an electronic fizz. The latter’s ever impressive vocals soon intensify the lure; a Voyager meets An Entire Legion like hue soaking the blossoming encounter. Soon the vigorous muscle and stroll of the song takes hold, a rich grip of sound never quite let of the leash and all the more impacting because of it.
It is a striking start swiftly rivalled by the following 17, its calm equally as magnetic and subsequently fevered as the energies and emotions boiling up around the swinging rhythms of drummer Danny Barrick and the alluring groan of Nick Tyldsley’s bass. Controlled yet tempestuous, the song is a rising infectious blaze of invention and captivation before making way for the equally compelling presence of Collapse. Its grumble is heavier, more rapacious, but superbly tempered by its melodic dexterity and the instinctive catchiness which runs through the Of Allies sound. Like Breaking Benjamin meets Shattered Skies, attention and appetite are quickly enslaved.
The haunting beauty and melancholic grace of brief instrumental Apparition leads the imagination into the waiting harmonic drama of Run. As guitars spin a beguiling web, Nichols croons with organic temptation being just as potently backed by the vocal chords of Hewson as the song flows evocatively through ears. It is a caress of aural sunlight with emotive shadowing which only draws the listener deeper into the heart and emotion of the album; a prowess as deftly conjured within the celestially warm and increasingly volcanic Waiting For You where progressive and melodic textures collude with metallic trespasses. With a capricious character and mercurial climate, the track is nothing less than thick enticement for ears and plaudits.
The steelier Lost Not Found has a firm grasp on rock pop boisterousness in its similarly skittish gait and eventful body while the lapping waves of scenic seduction and undercurrents of gloom clad aural thoughts within the suggestive slither that is Drifting leads the imagination into the spatial and immersive fineness and deceptive calm of Open Sea. It too has a dark edge and underlining predaciousness which perfectly aligns with the heated drama of voice and sonic enterprise.
The warm atmospheric succour of Solace lifts emotions up from those darker hues, the instrumental piece as provocative as it is manipulative before passing an open imagination over to easily the best track within Night Sky. The open ingenuity of all songs frames the sheer magnificence of CMD-Q. Straight away post punk instincts are gnawing on the passions, guitars and bass linking up in agitated discord and melodic trespass as beats scythe across their glory and vocals skilfully wrap their addictive throes. The track is just majestic but so frustrating when it just leaves lust hanging at two minutes.
It is a hunger soon satisfied though by the robust but graceful exploits of Glass House, Of Allies showing how inventive and artful they at aligning contrasting elements. It is a quality never far from the surface of their music even the slim moments of atmospheric instrumental haunting as shown once again in Stranded.
The album finishes with In Low Light, an echo of all the diversity and craft across the release in its own individual theatre of adventure and imagination with a bite to its nature and dynamic drama to its breath.
Night Sky is superb, easily one of the most captivating propositions this year and most importantly, one of the most enjoyable; both aspects only increasing listen by listen.
Night Sky is out now on iTunes.
Pete RingMaster 30/11/2017
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