Listen to shiny new tracks from VerseChorusVerse, Morning Claws and Seven Summits
VerseChorusVerse – EP
Stream VerseChorusVerse EP here, also available on iTunes
When Tony Wright announced that he would be leaving north coast instrumental powerhouse And So I Watch You From Afar, more than a few heads were turned. After all, ASIWYFA were the band that represented the heart and soul of the Northern Irish music scene. A bastion of integrity and ambition, they were arguably the lynchpin band that made it cool to make music again in this country. Why would anyone walk away from that?
Re-branding himself as VerseChorusVerse, Wright’s first EP provides us with the answer. Over a bed of strummed acoustic guitar, piano and restrained drums, Wright’s sweetly sincere vocals hold centre stage, a slight quiver on the edges revealing either a restrained passion, or the hints of nervousness at stepping into the limelight.
In interviews, Wright has previously talked of his love of 'classic' songwriters like Neil Young, and stylistically, there’s a classicism on display here that indicates that years have probably been spent honing his craft, just waiting for the opportunity to unleash it on the public.
‘One Fine Day’ has an anthemic quality, whilst ‘The Accused’ is much more contemplative, beautiful washes of cello wrapping around Wright’s voice as he plaintively sings, 'We were promised another chance.'
As an opening statement of intent from a ‘new’ artist, this is accomplished, moving stuff. Wright’s guitar playing in his previous band was frequently the focal point of their bruised charm, a hopeful yet battle-scarred instrument. Who knew his voice – both lyrically and otherwise – could carry exactly the same kind of power?
Morning Claws: Pet Storms, Ancient Clouds EP
Available December 1
Morning Claws are a difficult band to pigeonhole. A six piece using predominantly electronic instrumentation, they are capable of shoe-gazing with the rest of them. They’re a pop band, essentially, but there’s something about this particular brand of pop that fits best with the head, rather than the heart, or the feet.
This all stands to change somewhat with the release of their new EP, Pet Storms, Ancient Clouds. Whilst opening track ‘Fight for Your Friends’ is a vintage slice of shoe gazing guitar pedal abuse, circa 1992, second track ‘Fizzle’ possesses a playful feel.
It is a minimalist pop construction with an insistent beat certain to inspire bouts of dancing at the indie disco. Final track ‘Goodbye Moodkill’, meanwhile, recalls The Cure at their best, managing to make sadness sound wonderful, beauty in suffering.
The band’s previous release was an inspired bunch of contradictions, pushing and pulling in different directions, but it’s obvious that their now extensive live experience has galvanised them into something more solid. The rough edges are still there, but this time it feels intentional, rather than a sound in search of definition. This is pop that’s not afraid to scream in your face and dirty up your clothes, before holding your hand as the clouds part, revealing a ray of sunlight.
Seven Summits – I Want Somebody
Available November 18
Back in 2009, Seven Summits released an album which, whilst jam-packed with indie rock goodness, failed to set the world on fire. There were great tunes a-plenty, but there was also an ordinariness to their approach. Fans of the Lemonheads rejoiced, whist the rest of the world shrugged its shoulders.
Who could have predicted that they’d be able to reinvent themselves as one of Northern Ireland’s finest purveyors of the three minute single? The scrappy, ne’er-do-well sensibility has vanished, replaced by an admirably lean approach to songwriting, all chaff cast aside in search of the perfect pop song.
Here, the band have achieved the admirable feat of releasing a series of singles that somehow manages to out-do the previous collection. ‘Burning Heart’ is revelatory, a shimmering indie pop classic that establishes the band as a real force on the local scene, whilst ‘Sooner or Later’ sees the band beginning to attract attention outside of Northern Ireland, showcasing their increasingly effective way with a melody and lyrical bite.
Upon first listen, ‘I Want Somebody’ seems less immediate, the guitars relegated to the background in favour of synth sounds. However, once again showcasing their gifts with arrangements, the song unravels and unfolds, bringing the listener on a journey filled with twists and turns. Without any exaggeration, Seven Summits make some of the most accomplished pop music in the UK at the moment. Get them now, before everyone else gets them too.