Saturday, February 11, 2017

Album Review :: Amber Run - For A Moment, I Was Lost


Amber Run

For A Moment, I Was Lost

February 10 2017 (Easy Life Records) 


Words: Richard O’Hagan

Here at Little Indie, we often berate bands for a lack of ambition. That is not a charge which can be levelled at Amber Run, the Nottingham four-piece who return here with their second album, ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost’. In fact, it is something which presents us with a bit of a problem, because how do you rate a record whose ambition is to be as monstrously grandiose as possible?

It is especially tricky in this case, because you sense that, whilst most of these twelve songs would work wonderfully in an arena, with the crowd swaying along to the melody, in recorded form a lot of them come across as a bit too polished and, well, dull.

At times it is almost as if Amber Run are scared of their own ambition. There are occasional touches of innovation, like brief flickers of warm flame from an ebbing fire - the filthy bassline on current single ‘Strangers’, for example, or when they go full-on Sabbath on ‘Perfect’ – but all too often they are throttled by the MOR-ishness of what surrounds them. Indeed, there are times when the influences are just too obvious to be comfortable. Closer ‘Wastelands’ has a drum pattern very similar to Coldplay’s ‘Violet Hill’, for example, whilst ‘Fickle Game’ is at heart a reworking of Chris Izaak’s 1989 hit ‘Wicked Game’.

There are two other things which are so much more annoying than this, though. The first is that some of the lyrics are horribly repetitive. Like a two-year-old on tartrazine, Amber Run find a phrase that they like and then repeat it - ad infinitum. On ‘No Answers’, Joe Keogh tells us that he has no answers so often that I actually screamed ‘Yes, I get it, now shut the f*ck up!’ at the CD player.
That’s not the most annoying thing, though. The most annoying thing is that opening track ‘Insomniac’ is SO much better than the rest of the album. If everything lived up to this throbbing little beauty, with its off-kilter phrasing and booming piano (you have to love an album that opens with a single hammered chord on a piano) then ‘For a Moment…’ would be scoring at least two marks higher. Instead, it was all a little bit of a letdown.

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