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EP Review: The Hotspur Press – Island

Hailing from my 2nd favourite place in England after the Black Country, Manchester, let me introduce you to Daniel Quezada Manchester, George Webster, Tomas Antonio Quezada Manchester and Chris Nutter aka The Hotspur Press.

Now the reason that I’ve taken to my keyboard is that last Saturday the band released their new EP Island, and well, what can I say? It’s a pretty cool little record. Here’s the breakdown.

Aforementioned ‘Cool little record’ opens with single Ninety – Three and for my money (What little of it is left of it) it’s the best track on the EP. It’s just your classic sun-drenched indie tune. I love the melodies which dip in and out, the vocal is more than solid and all of the songs peaks and troughs are in the right place. The thing which really seals the deal for me though are the series of little drums rolls and drum fills which pop up throughout. It’s only a tiny thing in the grand scheme of things but it’s little additions like that which make the difference.

After a little fade down at the end of the opener the intro to Medicine will catch you by surprise as it’s on you before you’ve even realised what’s going on. The opening verse is a bit more stripped back, but the melodies are still out in full force and as I write this with this track hammering through my headphones I’m starting to think that it might be my new favourite. I’m disagreeing with my own notes… not sure what to make of that. It’s such a good tune, the crossover appeal for those opening couple of songs is absolutely huge.

Radio is an altogether slower affair and while the song is fine, this isn’t where the band are at their best. Everything is a bit more stripped back and the track leans pretty heavily on the vocal (which stands up) but it hasn’t got that spark which really grabs me. Things pick up when the melody becomes more prevalent, but I don’t know… It’s grown on me massively since I first heard it, it just hasn’t moved me yet. Maybe it will after a couple more spins, but at time of writing I’m planting this one straight into the ‘ok’ box.

For penultimate track Glass the band glides effortlessly back into more familiar territory. It still might only be mid-tempo fare but it feels like the band are just so much more comfortable in this lane. The thing that I really took from this song though was the guitar solo. It’s simple, not overbearing but gloriously melodic and gives the track a different dimension to everything else on show. Personally I’d definitely recommend that the band have a look at incorporating this more in the future, it’s a great asset to have so you’ve really got to look to exploit it.

Island closes out with the tinkling melody and emotional vocal of Run For Cover. And again while it’s not a bad song, everything feels a bit forced. I just don’t think that the band are at their best doing these kind of stripped back ballads. I get why they have thrown them in, variety is the spice of life and all that, but I don’t think that they play to the band’s strengths. I also thought that this one was a little too long as well if I’m really nit-picking.

Looking back over the EP as a whole though, I really can’t be too negative about it as it’s just got so many good things going for it. It doesn’t matter what genre of music I’m listening to, if a band can come with some serious melodies then they are going to get a massive thumbs up from me, so Island definitely hits the spot there. The vocals are great and when the band are really on top form they are so smooth, their music sounds so effortless. Plus when they eventually nail that big signature chorus there will be no stopping this band, they’re like 95% there. Honestly, they’re unbelievably close.

As I said, I’m not massive on the ballads, and while I don’t think that they play to the band’s strengths I don’t think either of them are what you’d call bad songs either so I can’t be too down on that.

All in all this is just a good little record. Island carries bucket-loads of summertime listening appeal from a band that I believe have plenty of potential. The next record is a big one for this lot, get it right and the sky could very well be the limit.

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