Saturday, 30 March 2013

New Video: No Assets - Spring Offensive

Spring Offensive have always been skilled at creating innovative music videos (see Worry Fill My Heart) and their newest offering is no different. Created by mounting 12 iPhones to 12 dancers, the video shows a choreographed dance filmed from 12 different angles, and is the perfect visual to accompany the haunting harmonies of the song.

Spring Offensive will be supporting Gaz Coombes on tour in April. 
Read my interview with Spring Offensive here 

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Album Review: Tales From Terra Firma - Stornoway

Stornoway Announce Further Details of Second Album, Tales From Terra Firma

Album: Tales From Terra Firma
Release date: March 11th 2013
Genre: Indie-pop
Record Label: 4AD
Rating: 9/10 

3 years after the roaring success of their debut album, Beachcomber's Windowsill, Stornoway have returned with a sumptuous follow-up in Tales From Terra Firma, and during that period the band have certainly achieved a lot. Main stage appearances at both Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight Festival; a separate Zulu side-project comprised of Oli and Rob Steadman (bassist and drummer) and friends; and even being an answer to a question on University Challenge, have ensured that the band has picked up a large following since the release of their first album. 

With a name like Tales From Terra Firma, you'd think the band would have moved away from the maritime exploits that feature so heavily on Beachcomber's Windowsill, however it's clear that the seasickness hasn't set in for them quite yet. Based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Knock Me On The Head, shows the Stornoboys as delirious lost explorers. The lyric, 'I saw a feathered silhouette on the crest of unforgiving waves, it hovered over salty air and I couldn't tear my eyes away' shows a certain amount of romanticism in keeping with the 19th century poets who seemed to have so heavily influenced the songwriting.

In fact, Tales From Terra Firma sees a deeper lyricism causing Briggs to describe it as '"an album of stories about rites of passage". Writing about birth, marriage and death, Stornoway have grown older and wiser since their debut. As an opener, You Take Me As I Am, is a delightfully upbeat, but nonetheless moving account of a wedding day, and in true Stornoway fashion, demonstrates Briggs' ability to make even the simplest of moments sound like Shakespearean love sonnets.

With an opening reminiscent of Wild Beasts' Loop The Loop, Farewell, Appalachia is a stunning ode to the mountainous American landscape. The haunting vocals and lyrics of 'I dreamed of rising up beside you among the galaxy and stars' adds to the "sense of escapism" on the album that Briggs is so keen to refer to. He has a point though - from the Appalachian mountains to the almost Japanese feel to the start of Knock Me On The Head, the band seem intent on exploring faraway lands, so foreign to their hometown of Oxford.

The more reflective, The Ones We Hurt The Most, is stunning in its simplicity, whilst on November Song Briggs' voice rings out with a real sense of sincerity as he sings 'I won't be afraid of the darkness a coming while I know a love that is as sure as the morning'.

Hook, Line, Sinker is definitely the most psychedelic Stornoway have ever been, and it's probably not often 'Stornoway' and 'psychedelic' appear in the same sentence. With an almost alien, electronic sound, it's an interesting new departure for the band whose first album so firmly rooted them in the folk genre.

The overriding sense of the album is one of a band who have stuck to the basis of doing exactly what they want with little interference from the record label. For many bands, the second album can be a tad contrived, especially when their debut has had success. However, for Stornoway, this hasn't been the case. Recorded in churches, and the garage of the Steadman brothers, it's very much a  home-grown affair.Their attention to detail, as always, is astounding, with multi-instrumentalist, Jon Ouin, bringing new and exotic instruments to the songs, which gives the album such a personal and vibrant feel, and makes it such a joy to listen to. With a Spring tour taking them around the UK, Europe and North America, the release of Tales From Terra Firma marks a new stage in the band's musical voyage.

Read NotAnotherRainySunday's interviews with Oli Steadman (bassist) and Rob Steadman (drummer)
For the full list of tour dates, and to pre-order Tales From Terra Firma, visit

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