Thursday, January 16, 2014

EP Review :: Abe - Heave-Ho


December 2 2013 (self-release)


Words: Dave Beech

So named after one of the original Playstation's most flatulent, yet otherwise charming mascots, Sheffield-based trio Abe have, in December at least, released their first “real” EP in the form of 'Heave Ho'. The culmination of several years' effort from the band, 'Heave Ho' is five tracks of ambitious melodies, off-kilter instrumentation and vocals wrought with emotion that, all in turn, beg the question, why haven't we heard of them yet?

Kicking off the record with the completely instrumental 'Step Out' is a bold move for the band, given that it's what will probably be most people's first exposure to them. Rather than deter one from the rest of the record, however, it serves to draw the listener in; the ominous, mounting synth of the intro inevitably breaking in to something far more encompassing. Conversely, following track 'Wink Wink' is a different beast entirely. A lush 80s pop synth provides the hook whilst singer Matthew Clubbs Coldron's vocal range and timbre far exceeds any expectations set up by the aesthetics of 'Step Out'.

What is undoubtedly the highlight of 'Heave Ho' comes in the form of 'You Are Me', the final track on the EP. Described by the band themselves as being a song about finding yourself through someone else, the dynamics throughout the track's entirety are second to none as Coldron's fragile vocals are juxtaposed against huge and imposing percussion sections, allowing the record to finish the way it started; ambitious, rich, and encompassing.

With 'Heave Ho' Abe have managed to release a debut that not many could. Produced by the band and given a final polishing by Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Ghostpoet), the record drips with an understated confidence which could no doubt be attributed to the length of time these guys have been playing together and with university finally behind them, it seems that 2014 could very well be the year that make Abe into something far more than just any run-of-the-mill three-piece band.

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