If you’re yet to hear of a band from Reading called The Amazons, you either live under a rock in the Yorkshire Dales or you don’t get out much. Having wowed the likes of NME, Radio 1 and The Independent who have lauded them as “one to watch”, they've done a grand job of winning a large fan base in a relatively short space of time and having checked out their debut long player, I understand exactly how they have come to achieve this…..
They waste no time in nailing their colours to the mast with the anthemic and surefire festival hit and album opener “Stay With me”, a catchy sing-a-long chorus which is bound to have the flags waving double quick time whilst the thrum of the moshpit bobs along gently to the melodic vibes that emanate from the stage. “Ultraviolet” is yet another crowd pleasing anthem in the making, its melodic guitar line bubbling away over a thunderous rhythm section whilst Matt Thomson nails the vocals. I can honestly see these guys absolutely killing it when they appear at the Isle of Wight and Reading Festivals later this year.
It’s the slightly less upbeat tracks such as “Burn My Eyes” and the shimmeringly gorgeous “Something in the Water” that sit smouldering away, building slowly with their incessant guitar lines which, at times actually get quite heavy.
The album closer “Palace” completely rewrites the formula that they applied to the previous 10 tracks, gone is the driving guitar, absent are the pounding drums and bass and present in their place is a fusion of vocals and piano which almost act as a baptism, cleansing your soul, preparing to deposit you back to earth for another mundane day in the life of….
Matt Thomson’s incredible vocals gel effortlessly with Chris Alderton’s urgent guitar work and the driving backline provided by bassist Elliott Briggs and drummer Joe Emmett to create a rich, 3 dimensional and multi-layered soundscape which really draws you in. Having given the record a good few listens already, there’s something about it that keeps me coming back for more. To say that their sound is different to the hoards of indie-rock acts out there peddling their wares at the moment would be untrue, it’s as if they never set out to emulate ANY of them, they simply set out to wipe the floor with ALL of them!
Their sound borders on the more intense side of indie-rock, more alt-rock at times which is never a bad thing but seeing as there are a plethora of acts out there doing this, it’s refreshing to hear a band that have a knack of bringing the listener to their knees with their incredibly tight melodic musicianship and amazing song writing abilities.
The eponymous album lands on May 26th and is followed by a slew of in-store appearances at Rough Trade Records prior to hitting some key HMV stores around the country to bolster their grip on the indie-rock marketplace.
They head out to conquer the festival circuit shortly afterwards and are set to play Fuji Rock in Japan on July 29th, heading back to UK soil for two appearances at Leeds and Reading over the August Bank Holiday weekend. They set sail in September to play some European dates prior to returning to Blighty for their October tour which takes in 10 dates around the country (this is going to sell out in a few days time - mark my words!), making sure that come the end, everyone who is anyone will well and truly know who The Amazons are!
After a short break to catch their breath and wash their smalls, they embark on yet another run of European dates, these guys are officially one of (if not THE) hardest working band in the world at the moment and judging by the love and adoration that their live shows bring, it’s thoroughly deserved and long may it continue. I’d have to go back a good 20+ years since I’ve seen this much anticipation about a debut album, I think it was SUEDE that had a similar effect on the record buying public back in the early 90’s.
I don’t really think of this as an ‘album’, to me, it’s more a Greatest Hits collection formed of carefully curated tracks that could have quite easily been the entire back catalogue of an established band who have been around for a long long time. As it stands, The Amazons are really only starting to make there mark on the scene but WHAT a mark they’ve already made and I can only say that the next few months are going to be testing but exciting times for this bunch of super talented musicians who deserve every success that they have waited patiently to achieve.
Review by Steve Muscutt