Push Puzzle Records [Release date 15.09.13]
One of the joys of enduring music is the way retro influences sometimes coalesce with the present and lodge themselves in cutting edge recordings. ‘Island’ a 3 track EP from Newcastle’s The Greeting Committee is such a recording.
It takes from the past to reinvent the future and fill our lives with west coast influenced harmonies, eclectic, poetic lyrics and subtly crafted layers of sounds. Their music is a kaleidoscope of sun kissed, refracted psychedelia that recalls 60’s folk pop harmonies, the jangling guitars of The Byrds, and 90’s Brit pop.
And such is the magical confluence of influences that you are hooked from the perfect stringed intro and luscious bass and drum led sonic wave before a mesmerising vocal kicks in.
‘Islands’ is an uplifting opening track which owes much of its impact to a polished and meticulously crafted production. It’s music that draws you in with its enveloping harmonies and builds by degrees with a constantly evolving layered sound, comprising a meandering violin line over power chords and a vocal that immerses itself into the rising wall of sound.
‘What It’s Like’ adds an extra eastern dimension, full of sitar and backing harmony vocals, with echoes of Kula Shaker. It’s a melange of warm lead vocals, a Macca style bass line, more sitar, chiming guitars and sweeping bv’s that carry the song into a gentle fade.
It’s rare for an EP to make such an immediate impact and the three songs suggest that the band have enough material and imaginative arrangements to fill an album.
‘Border & Patrols’ is the biggest production of the three and opens with brief electronic collage as the vocalist adds a monotone edge to his phrasing – part Alex Turner, part Liam Gallagher – on another beautifully crafted song that has echoes of The Beatles and is shaped and glued together by an intuitive rhythm section.
The drums are higher in the mix and the booming call and response gives the hook a bigger kick. A big sounding guitar and Hammond rise and fall as a solitary Farfisa sounding keyboard hovers over the rhythm section before the poetic lyrics return to the front of the mix.
The lyrics have that magical ability to mesmerise and merge with the music as one, and you find yourself drawn to a line such as: ‘open your eyes to toleration breakdown’, and then to the more expansive poetic turns such as: ‘Today is the rise, of those who don’t think twice, its a vice not a calling, digging holes for falling, so they won’t see through lies, intricate and wise, I turn my face to morning; look around, please open up your eyes, there’s another way’.
Only the ending is slightly clumsy, with a sudden chord change and a rising backing vocal that take the song home. It’s a tiny blemish on a three track EP that is a work of art and a musical delight.
‘Island’ is a stunning introductory EP from a band who connect on so many levels. *****
Review by Pete Feenstra
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Each week David Randall presents ‘New to GRTR!’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, with the emphasis on independent artists and labels. During December he replays favourite tracks including power plays featured during the year. This show covers the period January-March and was first broadcast on 1 December 2019.
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