Click 'Play Audio' to listen to 'Facing Down'
County Tyrone four-piece Pocket Promise don’t do hairdos. A group of musicians who care more about the product than its packaging, conformist side-partings and £60 blonde highlights are not what Pocket Promise are all about, and what a refreshing, life-affirming fact that is.
Ignoring the current insufferable trend to present themselves as catalogue models rather than actual musicians, Pocket Promise release their debut EP, Waving At Strangers, with no motive other than the music itself. No pork pie hats or attitude-by-numbers, no tight-fit jeans or luminous bracelets. Just music - pure, simple and unashamedly heartfelt.
Recorded in France’s Black Box Studios with David Odlum (whose past credits include The Frames, Gemma Hayes and Redneck Manifesto), Waving At Strangers is a collection of five songs showcasing the emotive nature of the Pocket Promise sound in its laid back, melodic magnificence.
Resting on a bed of Ben Folds Five, Waving At Strangers is the radio-friendly entrée to Coldplay’s Parachutes and Elbow’s Asleep In The Back.
Featuring ‘every instrument they can get their hands on’, songs like ‘Facing Down’ and ‘Something Unreal’ show the band's mainstream potential, while singer Cormac Fee's accented vocals bring a tear to the eye, and for all the right reasons.
They may not venture too far up the BPM scale, but navel gazers Pocket Promise are not. Mercifully, their brand of introspection is eyeliner-free.
‘We named the EP 'Waving at Strangers' as we see the collection of tracks as a greeting to new listeners who are complete strangers to us,' says bass player Ciaran McKenna.
'Having recorded 15 tracks during a session at Black Box studios last summer, we decided on five tracks which display a mellower and more introspective side of our music. Working with David Odlum gave the tracks a distinct sound, and that has helped us in what we do live.’
Prior to recording Waving At Strangers in the summer of 2007, Pocket Promise spent almost two years gigging in and around London, playing hype venues like The Water Rats and The Metro to build a fan base from the ground up.
With the release of Waving At Strangers, McKenna and Pocket Promise are branching out. Without a record deal or the support of a traditional record company, they’ve already made it onto Radio 1, supported the likes of The Wombats and Simple Kid, and set up their own label, Stop:Go Music.
‘We've chosen to have complete control of all aspects of our music by self-funding our recordings and pressing up a limited edition EP,’ says McKenna.
‘We're putting the music out via our own label, distributing downloadable tracks via all the major download sites like iTunes and selling the physical copy of the EP through our MySpace site.'
With such radio-friendly tunes to their name, Pocket Promise stand as good a chance as any of climbing up the charts and staking a place for themselves in the public consciousness. 'Doing a Radiohead' has given them the confidence to press on undaunted.
‘It's hard to tell this early if it's been successful or not, but we're hoping that media coverage will help us get our music out to as many people as possible.
'With the remaining ten tracks that we have from our Black Box sessions we have a number of options for the future – we may release them all as a full-length album or alternatively as a couple of further EPs.’
And all without the aid of hairspray. Whoever said that image is everything?
For tour dates and to purchase a copy of Waving At Strangers, log onto the Pocket Promise MySpace page.
By Lee Henry