MANCHESTER four-piece The Words may feel that the recent trend for electronic music in the charts is making their job more difficult in getting their guitar-based songs heard, but if they pick the right tracks carefully there’s no reason they can’t find a niche in the market-place.
Inspired by the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and James, and with influences such as Oasis, The Twang and The Coral evident too, they’re a promising new act whose debut album, Truth & Faith, boasts some genuinely strong moments.
When they play things loud and lean towards the rock ‘n’ roll style of BRMC they display an undeniable swagger but elsewhere they showcase the ability to layer the melodies with the same kind of emotional lyrical content that makes James so special. Personally, I prefer them when reigning things in.
Album highlight Falling, for instance, is a really tender, stripped back offering that immediately wins you over. The guitars are subtle and allow Steven Draper to showcase a more fragile vocal style that befits the melancholy tone of the lyrics (“falling out of time… I could not hold onto you; I just feel I’m losing… losing myself again”). It’s a James-like moment that expertly layers in the instrumentals and vocals.
Similarly endearing and laidback is the follow-up A Thousand Times, which offers a more upbeat set of lyrics and a summery vibe that should really serve them well on the festival circuit.
Earlier, former single Everybody’s With You allows them to indulge their BRMC passions over a heady chorus that should similarly serve them well in terms of encouraging sing-alongs.
Sometimes, they employ a little too much raw edginess in their style… with album opener Fag being too laddy and Head Over Heels finding Draper’s earthy vocal style at odds with the breezy melodies.
But thankfully, such moments are at a minimum and The Words seem to know where their strengths lie best… keeping things real, witty and quite often heartfelt and slow-building or just plain melodic.
Later on, for instance, Under The Sun throws in a kooky melodicism that reminded me of The Coral, while The Void offers a continually changing tempo with low-key verses building to rousing choruses and some great guitar work.
Album closer and title track, Truth & Faith, is another acoustic number that sounds like a mission statement with lyrics such as “gotta believe we’ll make it, gotta believe in ourselves”. By the time you reach that point, however, you kind of hope they do.