Based between Brighton and London Quiet Lions are Michael Williams, Luke Holmes, Richard Thorpe and Oli Austen. No Illusions serves as a follow up to the band’s 2014 debut EP Surroundings and what a good little record it is too.
Opening track Shallows is to coin a cliché ‘a grower.’ I hate that term but that’s the best I’ve got. It really took a few listens for me to have any kind of rapport with the song; it was kind of just there. Lyrically the track looks at X-Factor style singers who are always looking for a quick route to fame and like I said it’s a real slow burner. I never thought it was a bad song it just took time to really get under my skin. I think it’s one of those songs where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I like how the song slowly builds towards a crescendo, the guitar work as well is really neat and tidy and while it doesn’t dominate the track it moves everything forward nicely. And I must confess that I have found myself singing the ‘Shallows’ refrain a little bit too loudly as well…
Wolves Of The Capital was the EP’s lead single and in my humble opinion it’s also the best track on display. Based around the idea of working for a company and for a boss that you don’t like this track is absolutely brilliant in pretty much every way. The band has this habit of nailing that one line which just sums up the song and acts as the lyric that you remember. In this case it’s the refrain ‘This isn’t good enough for the world.’ It’s so simple but it’s the song down to a tee. The melodies are great, the way the song goes through louder/quieter and quicker/slower phases is spot on; I just love everything about this one.
Following track Troubles is seriously deep and emotive so I’ll let frontman Williams take over the reins for a moment;
“This song is written about one of my cousins having such a severe breakdown that she couldn’t look after her own children. I grew up idolising my family members and even as I got older I still saw them as invincible – it’s funny how that remains no matter how old you are.”
One of the things that I really like about these guys is that all of their songs bring something different to the table and they are all written about something. There are a million and one songs in the world written about nothing in particular but these songs all have a purpose and while that might seem blindingly obvious on the face of it, it makes a massive difference. Anyway, whichever you want to shake it this is another great track, just sit quietly and take this one in and you won’t be disappointed.
Soaring vocals are the order of the day on penultimate track Honesty Breathes. Once again the song is just so easy listening and I’m a big fan of the way that it’s been put together. The slower section in the middle of the track acts almost as an interlude before the song heads towards its grand finale. I think these guys they have an appreciation for the fact that it’s not always the big flashy things that make a difference; sometimes it’s the subtle little things that have the biggest impact and that will take them a long way.
Final track The Hive sums up perfectly why I really like this band. The melodies are so good, the guitars soar when they have to and the drums drive the track through its multiple phases. The music just feels so natural, the band aren’t going through the motions, they feel and believe everything that they are singing and playing. The whole thing comes across as incredibly authentic.
All round No Illusions is a really good record. It’s not overly spectacular and flash but then again it’s not meant to be. Its success can be found in the simple things, the song writing, the vocals, the melodies and the rhythms. I doubt that it will knock you out of your seat when you first press play but be patient with it, just take your time and the rewards will follow I promise you. All I know is that if Quiet Lions keep this up then surely bigger things will follow.
No Illusions is out now.