ep review ~ 'dusk and dawn' ~ hurdles

by 04:22

For fans of⁞► Two Door Cinema Club, Chic, Peace
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The slick, infectious indie pop which first saw Hurdles slide into our stream of  consciousness back in 2012 has remained at the core of their sound, even if it has experienced a face-lift or two along the way. New EP 'Dusk & Dawn' has the look and feel of a band ready to take on the next stage of their musical careers.

Catchy opener (they always start strong!) 'Closer' offers a brief glimpse back into their more guitar centered past, before those Summer-night synth's get their first outing of the record. It's a carefully crafted sound, each layer more intricate than the last. When it all comes together, as it so often does throughout 'Dusk & Dawn', you begin to feel that this is the sound Hurdles have always been building towards. 

Those richly textured indie-pop riffs perhaps work best on the title track, sounding straight out of Bombay Bicycle Club's 'So Long, See You Tomorrow'. 'Wake' too, sounds smooth and natural, even with it's new found level of groove. 

Deliberate or not, 'Dusk & Dawn' feels like a chronological guide to Hurdles history, building to it's crescendo, the mammoth 'France'.  First debuted on the Oh Yeah Centre's 'Scratch My Progress' talent program/label, this dancey single has already notched up nearly 30,000 soundcloud plays, a remarkable amount for any young band. From the first listen 'France' remains firmly implanted in your head and trust us, it will stay there. It may not have the 'indie-upstart' charm of earlier singles  'Kaleidoscope', or 'Pictures', but it is clear that this is not quite the same band anymore.

A mature, confident release from a band still made for the festival circuit and long, hot Summers.

Taylor Johnson

single review ~ 'young hearts' ~ new atlas

by 06:06
New Atlas
For fans of⁞► The 1975, Barcelona, Swim Deep

It may be a bit premature to proclaim 'Young Hearts', the debut single from Armagh-born, Liverpool-based, two piece New Atlas, the best they've ever done. As despite their new image, new colour scheme and bold new sound, the emotive-pop noise of guitarist/frontman Eoghan O'Hagan and pianist Luc McParland is not an entirely new prospect. Indeed, under previous moniker 'His New Atlas', the lads mournful ballads marked them out as one of this countries most promising young outfits. but all things must change and along with the haircuts, so has the sound.

Part of what made 'His New Atlas' so enchanting was O'Hagan's palpable pain behind the microphone. Songs like 'His Young' dragged you into the songwriters troubled mind, and often left you there long after he'd left the stage. 'Young Hearts' manages to convey that same emotion, but in very different ways. If 'His New Atlas' led you into the dark, 'New Atlas' feels like an escape back into the light.

Shimmering synth work from McParland paints 'Young Hearts' dreamy pop landscape, whilst his bandmate pulls another big chorus out of nowhere. This was par for the course on his slower work, but bringing out the big guns on a single like this is a totally different matter all together. They nail it here.

For all of 'Young Hearts' big production and instant melody, there remains some of the shadows from his previous work. 'If my Mother and Father had stayed together, maybe we could have too...", suggesting that we won't be hearing them cover 'Love Me Do' anytime soon.

A bold new direction, illustrative pop-critiques on the human condition and a festival worthy chorus. A certain Matty Healy may well approve. Extremely promising.

Taylor Johnson

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