EP review: PYLON POETS – Lucid Hallucinations

PYLON POETS – Lucid Hallucinations

Website [Release date 18.12.20]

Pylon Poets are an alt rock trio from Torquay featuring Dan Hughes (Vocals, Guitars, Synths), Sam McIver (Drums, Backing Vocals) and Nathan Hughes (Bass, Backing Vocals). This EP was recorded by Barnaby Ray at Momentum Studios in Plymouth and mixed and mastered by Josiah J Manning (Kris Barras Band, Wille and the Bandits).

All four tracks were recorded throughout 2020 with three released as singles. ‘Breathe’ was the first single to be released in March, a gentle song which does sound a tad different from the other songs on the EP.

Next up in July was ‘Abandon’ which gained radio play on Planet Rock, which with its melodic, hook filled chorus you can see why it gained airplay. The latest single ‘Rise and Call’ was released in November, the heaviest song on the EP, although the band let the guitars and synths take equal levels in the music. The synths on this one are particularly good.

Opening track ‘Reverie’ is the only one not to be released as a single, although it is planned to have an accompanying video for it come the EP’s release. A song that manages to recall the 80s synth pop era with a modern sound. Possibly the song of the EP, helped by a superb intro.

Not on the EP but do check out their guitar led version of the Human League classic ‘Don’t You Want Me’.

Pylon Poets have that certain something about them, with songs that can appeal to the younger crowd and aging rockers like this reviewer. A band to keep an eye out for next year and beyond. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

Dan from the band gives us a bit more background to the band’s formation, musical influences, the EPs recording and more…

Brief history of how Pylon Poets came together…

There is quite a long history to the creation of Pylon Poets, It all started back in 2009 in College. Dan formed a Classic rock group called The Stone Angels and played as a four piece for a while, after a dramatic genre shift and line up change that left the group as just a two piece of Dan and Sam we wrote and released an album, Spirit Love and Higher Meanings.

During the promotion of this album Nathan’s previous musical project had ended and after one too many shandy’s at a local show he plucked up the courage to ask if they would consider bringing him on as their bassist. Still under the name of The Stone Angels we wrote, released and toured our self titled EP.

It was around this time a Brighton based band called Stone Angels were starting to get a bit of Buzz around them, we also received several emails that were meant for them, so we made the difficult decision to rebrand. So under the new name of Pylon Poets we have set to work reinvigorated, with renewed confidence and with a pretty snappy logo! (Thank you Mr Murray)

How has the lockdown been for the band? You’ve managed to record this EP. Does it mean you are more focussed perhaps on writing and recording with no live shows at present?

In a word… Tough! The thing with the band is we are really good mates and just not being able to socialise with each other has been hard. Add in the inability to play together and you have all the makings of a nightmare! Luckily with the funds we had squirreled away and in the brief windows where the government restrictions have allowed we’ve managed to put together this EP otherwise we may have started suffering from cabin fever!

There’s definitely been a creative aspect to the lockdowns though. It has been a good opportunity to hone our song writing and we definitely have built up a backlog of songs to finalise and work on, and even some that are pretty much ready to go. It all just depends on what feels right the next time we can get down to business.

The EP covers rock, synth pop, alt rock…does the band like to keep fans guessing on the next musical style?

Well we have all come from a rock background but from fairly different aspects of it. That’s the real beauty of this specific genre; it’s so malleable! If you have the will and the knowledge you can do pretty much anything you want with it. Besides, thinking in terms of genre can be quite restricting, it’s often better to think in terms of what this song needs and working from there.

Look at it this way, not that we’re comparing ourselves to Queen in any way, if Freddie Mercury didn’t think of combining Opera with Rock and Roll we would never have got the masterpiece Bohemian Rhapsody! It’s just a case of taking these ideas and fragments and moulding them into something you’re proud of regardless of the genre conventions.

Who are the major musical influences on the band and why?

That’s a tough one as it’s such a broad church of influences. Sam for example loves everything from film scores to Kiss, big shout out to Radiohead and Muse on that front too. Dan loves his blues rock, from Rolling Stones to John Mayer, not forgetting to add a sprinkle of the Killers and Kasabian of course. Finally Nathan came from a Prog Metal background so we’ve got bands like Dream Theater and Animals as Leaders thrown in there too, though he also has a soft spot for Jamiroquai and Level 42. Amongst all that we’ve also got the greats like Bowie, Prince, Zeppelin… The list goes on, we try to take inspiration from everything, there’s always something worth looking at in every song!

You have recorded a great cover of the Human League classic ‘Don’t You Want Me’. Do you approach a cover and either look to stay fairly true to the original, or try to give the song the band’s own musical stamp?

To be honest that cover started as a bit of a joke! Dan started playing the riff as he had to do an analysis of the song at uni and it just wouldn’t leave his head and with the distortion, and a few well placed pinch harmonics we thought… Damn that’s a pretty cool riff!

As for finalising the track, iIt was mostly just a case of playing it live a whole bunch of times and as we did it sort of moulded and changed into the version we have now. I think the essence of a good cover is to take the key elements, in this case the main riff and the chorus vocal melody, and keep as true to that as you can the rest of the track you’re pretty free to play around with I think.

What have been the live highlights for the band and why?

Well it was before Nathan joined but we have fond memories of when we played with GUN at the Fleece in Bristol, it’s such an iconic venue and many of our heroes have played there over the years. Honestly with that one it was one of our first tastes at a proper decent capacity venue with a great sound system and an engaged crowd!

As for one with Nathan, I think it was one that we played about a month after he joined. There was a local bike festival that raised a lot of money for local charities called BMAD and we were invited to play the opening night. We just had such a great reception and it being a local crowd as well it was great to look out and see a whole bunch of familiar faces, and not just in the usual sense of playing to the same four people that always show up! There were people you only vaguely know, just enough to nod at in the street, singing along with your songs! It was a great and quite surreal experience.

All being well gig wise in 2021, what live plans are the band planning and who would you ideally like to tour with?

We had a great line-up of shows this year with a whole bunch of great small festivals that we were really looking forward to. We would love for some of those festivals to be able to go ahead in 2021 and we would love the opportunity to play those. Other than that it’s going to be a case of building momentum again. Probably starting with local shows, find our feet again, then start pushing out wider. We’ve used the lockdown time though we’ve been talking with some other unsigned bands around the country and were hoping to be able to connect with some of them. Fingers crossed we get to meet some of them, there’s some truly excellent bands and genuinely cool people out there making music!

Failing that we’d love it if Muse or The Foo Fighters wanted to invite us on tour… Hey we can dream right?

Message for your fans and anything else to add…

The Vaccine is coming guys, not long now! We’re on the final stretch a little bit more and we’ll be back to getting you dancing and head banging soon! Also if you can support your small artists, buy their merch, buy their tracks on Bandcamp! You’ve no idea how heart-warming it is to get that email through, knowing that someone likes something you created enough to pay for it!

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JAIME KYLE Driving With The Brakes On (Conquest Music)
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