Here at Electric Harmony HQ, I think it’s safe to say that the music comes first. It doesn’t matter about where the people making that music has come from, how well they’ve managed to get it out to people across the nation or even the world; that stuff is all secondary to the music itself. Hopefully, that’s something you might agree with, and may have noticed about the way we do things. And if you haven’t, that just means we may need to try harder. Why not get in touch and let us know!
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because normally, when writing such a review of this, I like to give you a little background on the band in question, just to add a little context. With today’s band, The Words, I’m afraid that I’m going to fall into the perilous realms of hyperbole very quickly. So to avoid such horrors, here’s what you need to know:
1) The Words are a four piece indie-rock band from Manchester.
2) They cite influences ranging from David Bowie to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
3) They can be found online on their Facebook page and Youtube channel.
4) Their debut album Truth & Faith is now out on iTunes
5) They are pretty damn good, and definitely worth checking out.
There. I think I haven’t hyped them up too much… Right, to the best bit, the music!
Due to the fact I’m completely new to the band’s music, I decided to go through their songs available on Facebook to get a general overview of the band, and so I should just point out that all my comments are taken from those particular tracks.
First up is Demons. A nicely mellow track that evolves into a serious groove by the second verse, I particularly like the interplay between the vocal lines; a question and answer section with a third vocal line for decoration here and there. What’s remarkable about this track is the way that the track will suddenly divert off down a different path, or throw in something that doesn’t initially sound like it should work. It’s then you realise that actually, it does work, you just haven’t quite kept up with the band. Some of the tonality in the bridge/coda/I’m not sure quite what you’d call it without resorting to that ever so vague term of ‘breakdown’ seems incredibly complex, like two different keys are trying to gel together. I have to admit, I’m not here analysing each key change, so I’m only guessing, but I think if its intentional it fits the lyrical content extremely well to have this very slight discordant feel to it.
Initially, FAG sounds like it’s going to be a slightly less complex four to the floor rock number. Appearances, even sonically, can be deceiving. Again, that manic energy that fuelled the last track seems to have been amped up, and when the chorus hits, it’s just a wall of pure energy – drums going mad, catchy main vocals, punchy guitar riffs; then suddenly wiped away to build up again. This is fast becoming a Words signature; this sudden change in direction like an F1 car of music, it’s gracefully done, but with plenty of power.
Stand Up Sit Down’s intro reminded me a little of the classic There She Goes, but again evolves into a track brimming with energy, literally trying to burst out of my speakers. The chorus here seems to be built for big arena crowds to chant along with. If anything, I’d say this might be the most laid back of the songs so far, but only by a little bit. And then, just when you think you’ve got the hang of The Words sounds, they throw in a violin solo…. Okay, so I guess we’re going for a more orchestral breakdown maybe? Nope, here’s a banjo solo, y’know, as you do, and a rousing chorus chant to finish. Maybe the best question here isn’t why include such a massive change in direction, but why the hell not?
The Void was an important track for me. Up to this point, my image of the band’s music has been about energy, pure manic energy with an air of complexity but not a lot of time for emotional nuance. By this I mean, the rock side was there, and yes, it goes all the way past 11, but seems to be stuck there. Not anymore! The Void opens with melancholy and a more intimate sound, stripping away that rocket fuel that powered the last few tracks to leave just the guitar, and a rich soundscape. This quickly evolves to add the rest of the band, but even with the busyness of the drums, its still the most laid back and possibly introverted of the Words tracks so far. I like the contrast of space here, so the chorus gets the full drums and distorted guitar treatment, but the verses are nicely spaced out, again reflecting the title well. My only slight criticism is that I wish that it was a bit slower maybe; the drums are keeping that momentum up throughout the whole track, which kind of tethers it to a sense of hurriedness, and maybe letting the guitars and vocals have more space to wander about would be beneficial.
Hopefully, by now, you may have stopped listening to me ramble on, and gone to check out the music for yourself. You really should by the way. Go on, I’m pretty much done here, I won’t be offended!
For those of you still here, if you should need further encouragement to go and have a listen, I would take the opportunity to point out that these guys are on the fast track to being huge. They’ve already opened for bands like Placebo (and 30 Seconds to Mars – if they’re your cup of tea. Sorry, they’re not really mine!) in a concert for number one fans Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart, been enjoying steady airplay on Kerrang FM and been described as “absolutely storming” when introduced on BBC 6 Music.
All fantastic achievements, and hopefully a sign of things to come, but like I said at the beginning; its the music that matters. With such amazing songs, and (x), I think it’s fairly easy to see why these guys are headed to even greater things.
The Words unsurprisingly have quite a busy month ahead in terms of gigs, but for any of my fellow West-Country inhabitants, they’re in Bristol at the end of March. I would thoroughly recommend taking the opportunity to go and check these guys out, full details of all their gigs are available online.
Review by Paul Barnes