A couple of months ago I wrote about how I don’t tend to fall instantly in love with songs these days but that a brand new band called Armstrong had reminded me what that beautiful feeling felt like. Their debut single caught my attention like spotting a hot girl across the bar and for the rest of the day it was all that I could think about and all that I could hear in my head. Ok, I might have exaggerated a tad, but you get my point.
That track that got me all giddy is called Thursday Night Club and it just so happens to be the lead single from their eponymously titled EP which was released very recently. There was absolutely no way in the world that I wasn’t going to review this record.
Listening to aforementioned lead single and opening track Thursday Night Club two months on has only reinforced what I felt about it in the first place. Put simply it is a staggeringly good tune. Absolutely everything about it is totally on point. The guitar melody which pulls it along is great, the vocal is fantastic and it’s catchy as hell. Honestly, what more could you ask for? It’s got this kind of early 2000’s Stereophonics feel… minus the gravelly Welsh vocal obviously. It’s just fantastic, I love it.
Just Cause has got a real We Are Scientists vibe and again everything about the song just works. The vocal from Nicole Mason is again prominent and like the opener, and the rest of the record for that matter, it’s ridiculously slick. The way it strips back before the chorus hits gives that hook a real pop and its up-tempo nature would lend it nicely to radio.
Penultimate track Bend. Buckle. Break. Sees the band strip things back a little bit, the drums which really snapped earlier on are now reigned in and the vocal is also softened. That doesn’t stop the band from upping the ante for another grandstand chorus however as the song skips effortlessly through the gears. The band’s ability to write a good chorus and build songs so that they reach a crescendo at all the right moments cannot be underestimated.
I don’t think anything will ever replace the lead single as my favourite track from these guys but final offering You Are Not Alone definitely comes closest. The classic indie-rock melody which runs through the veins of this one is glorious. If the verses are softly spoken then the chorus is made to be belted out drunk with a load of your mates at a live show. These things are always dictated by the audience’s response to them but this track has the potential to be the Armstrong anthem. I hate it when EP’s and albums go out with a whimper so this rousing finish earns big points from me.
This record and Armstrong as a band frankly are an absolute breath of fresh air. Don’t me wrong they aren’t reinventing the wheel here; they have just put new tyres on it and made it run a hell of a lot more smoothly. In a world where indie bands are everywhere these guys have come up with a formula to make themselves stand out. Who would have thought great vocals, melodies and song writing would result in a great record!?
Back to basics, slick, smooth and a joy to listen to Armstrong is a slice of indie-rock worthy of a place in anybody’s music collection.
The Armstrong EP is out now.