Any band written up as “the English Vampire Weekend” is normally something that I am going to stay clear of. Yes, it’s probably lazy journalism on the part of those who should know better, the need to hang a fashionable tag on a band as an easy selling point in this short attention span world, but any association with a band showing such a fragrant disregard for the finer points of grammar (i.e. – The Oxford Comma) are not on my radar.
However coming to the band as a live act first and at the point of releasing this, their second album, proved perfect timing as Hero In Trouble references so many things I love. Built on a structure of guitar-based indie, it is what is then used to adorn that framework that sends them down a wholly divergent path from the tween obsession bands that they would otherwise be lumped in with. Although there are occasional big hooks and obvious riffs to their songs, their real selling point is the ability to weave ambient threads together, subtle synth washes, gentle vocal harmonies and wonderfully picked peripheral guitar work without becoming twee or sounding like a Peter Gabriel film score pet project.
They push the indie boundaries into seemingly juxtaposed territory; a place where late night atmospheres rub shoulders with anthemic crescendos, where drifting harmonies merge with sharply crafted instrumentation. I guess it’s just a question of volume. Play this album quietly and it is an evening on the sofa with a bottle of wine and a significant other, blast it out and it become a powerful sound track to a world of everything and nothing, the significant and the inconsequential, a world they see through images of dancing in the rain, sunsets over the ocean, the persistence of memory in our lives, small stories set in an unfathomable universe, love, loss, life and everything in between.
Todays lesson: Never judge a book by it’s cover and never judge a band by the lazy adage someone in the media has unfairly shackled them with.