Birmingham's Ivory Wave, Dream Nights - EP review
There's a big buzz around Birmingham right now, with the 'B-Town' scene grabbing the attention of musical moguls the country over.
One of the releases to garner the most hope and expectation is this five-track EP from Brummie indie-dance boys Ivory Wave.
And while it stands up to criticism and delights at times with those airy atmospherics, it doesn't quite live up to the social media hype.
There's plenty to love. The happy nature of Uptown with that shout-along chorus and stomping beats will prove popular wherever they play - such as at Digbeth's The Legitimate Peaky Blinders festival this year. Jangling guitars accompany happy-go-lucky vocals from frontman George Johnson and it's the kind of beer-can-fuelled house party anthem you'd expect.
It's accompanied with the funky and foot-tapping Pale Moonlight. Accented delivery from Johnson spews forth in almost guttural fashion before things open up for a real pop-jangler of a chorus. The dance vibes tucked within leave you recalling The Music.
But this track more than most leaves you feeling like a little oomph was lost somewhere along the way. The production from Matt Terry (The Prodigy, You Me At Six) upon recording at VADA Studios, Warwickshire, and mixing from Grammy Award-winner Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters, Muse, Everything Everything) leaves it polished. But some gravitas feels extracted and the party vibe can feel a little shallow.
Further examples are opener The Middle and Weigh Me Down. The Stone Roses-esque latter number is clearly aimed at fans of that genre, and why not? They site the Mancunians as major influences so channel that love by all means.
The Middle does feel slightly heavier and full or a more raw energy powering it from start to finish. Seb Baldwin's percussion and the bass of Luke Morris really work here as they weave a delightful engine together that allows Connor McMin's guitar to dance.
The EP's finest moment is the emotive Young Blood that starts with a Young Aviators-style guitar ode to youthfulness before opening up into a vast wall of sound that thumps off your eardrums and features some excellent vocal support from Birmingham Community Gospel Choir.
Solid foundations from which to flourish from. There's nothing wrong with planting your feet firmly before pushing on - and the prospects look good for this positive mouthpiece for Birmingham's youth.