As last year was beginning to wind to a close I featured a video from a band called Years Young. They’ve got a Lower Than Atlantis, Mallory Knox kind of vibe to them and that video was for a track called Sleeping Easy and I liked it a hell of a lot.
Fast forward to January 2016 and the band’s debut EP Hiraeth which features Sleeping Easy is now out there and available to the world. So in time honoured fashion I think it’s about time that I gave it the full Musical Outcast treatment.
Opening track Miracles slides you gently into the action (Well at least to start with). A slow and gentle intro sets the ball rolling before some big-ass drums and thunderous guitars arrive on the scene to beat you about the head. The band demonstrates a great knack throughout this EP of being able to write a great chorus and that is definitely evident here. As the track builds towards its final throes it feels like it’s about to launch into a huge guitar solo which never arrives before launching into a beat which is sure to get heads nodding before kicking into one last chorus.
I think the best way that I can sum up Finding My Feet is by saying that’s it’s brilliantly solid. There’s nothing massively remarkable about it, but it’s got a good chorus (Again) and like the rest of the EP is really crisp, clean and well put together. It grew on me with every listen and while it still can’t get me out of my seat you can’t really dislike it as a song.
The pace and the intensity kicks up a few notches for The Sign, something which I wish the band would do a little more of. Sometimes it feels like they are holding a little bit, and for want of a better phrase I wish they would just lose their shit and let loose! I do really like this track; it’s got a bit of everything. There are slower sections and good sing-along inducing chorus and even a heavier section before the song really heads towards a conclusion. It feels quite a bit different to the rest of the record and in my book this kind of variation is never a bad thing.
Paper Mountains sees frontman Lee Colclough go to work over a sparse and stripped back melody save for some steady drums. His vocal really fits this kind of track really well and the song as a whole just builds towards a monster chorus. You feel this is the Years Young comfort zone but they really do excel in producing this kind of tune. It’s a song I really like, and I think could work very well as a single as well as bringing the house down live.
Penultimate track Electric finds the band going to the ‘slow verse, big chorus well’ once more and while you have to say that the music is of a real high quality things are starting to feel a little formulaic. In insolation the song is great but because it’s structured like so many of the other songs on offer you feel like you’ve heard it before a little bit. The band easily have the ability to shake things up, so next time out I hope they venture outside their safety zone.
Closing effort Sleeping Easy is the track that first got me interested in the band and it still has that bit of magic these 3-odd months later. It’s got plenty of replay value, a good hook, and is also really well written. Lyrically the band have an ability to nail thoughts and feelings with just a little phrase. Nothing is over-written, which is a great skill to have.
Overall it’s hard to be too negative about Hiraeth. The band demonstrates that they know how to write a good song, a great chorus and create music with a wide appeal. Paper Mountains and Sleeping Easy are definite highlights although in truth there aren’t any real weak tracks. The only real negative is as I mentioned above; things at times feel a little formulaic. The ‘slow, stripped back verse into soaring chorus’ is one of the oldest styles in the book and I just wish that the band would switch it up a bit.
That being said this is only the band’s debut EP and without doubt there is real promise here. It’s a great starting point and foundation for the band to go onto bigger things, something of which I am sure that they are more than capable.