Hampshire trio conjure an atmospheric storm on their beautifully accomplished debut album.
Hampshire trio Blaenavon are a band who’ve been steadily gaining popularity over the past three years with a variety of early track releases containing glimmering elements of a group that could really go places. Their mix of raw, natural emotion and intricate musicality has seen them being compared to the likes of The Maccabees and Half Moon Run. Last week finally saw the release of the band’s debut studio album, That’s Your Lot, a collection of twelve beautifully tailored tracks that tantalise in their own unique way and leave you in high anticipation of what the next direction the three piece will take.
Right from opener Take Care, you are transported straight into the world of Blaenavon, their intricacy coming to the fore within seconds. Line “My side of the bed won’t sleep tonight” highlights the honesty of singer Ben Gregory whose delicate falsetto shines before the track’s brilliant indie rock vibe fades in. With intelligent and busy drumming from Harris McMillan plus panicking pants of desperation from Gregory, the track is a wonderful opener that really sets the mood of the album.
The whirlwind of emotion and raw strength are embedded within tracks like Alice Come Home and Swans, the former a six and a half minute indie rock track with touches of intimacy mixed upon waves of atmospheric guitar rock and big drums. Whilst lyrically incredibly simple, just repetitions of the chorus, a bridge and an outro, it’s the musicality and the development throughout the song that shines with beating drums igniting the rhythm and passion of the track. Swans, however, uses intricate guitars that build and fall during intervals across the cinematic track. The atmosphere that the trio are able to conjure is something of sheer magnificence across the seven minute tale of guidance and loyalty.
Whilst Blaenavon’s take on atmospheric rock is admirable, the deeper sense of honesty is something to applaud. Textured and haunting vocals shine on Lonely Side in which line “In a land of parasites, I feel a host” displays vulnerability and isolation across a multitude of distinct layers. Orthodox Man is an honest, bare all track which sees Gregory in complete submission to his lover. Lines “I’ll be your orthodox man when you call / I’ll be your slave, your pet,” bare all feelings in the song whilst closing track That’s Your Lot is a calm closing track that sees the band’s lyricism dominating over the musicality of the song.
Taking the atmospheric indie rock route can be a dangerous move for some band’s as eventually track’s blend into one similar sound. However, Blaenavon’s debut contains little sparks of a band who still have a lot more to give. Old favourite Prague ’99 received additional tweaks for the album and sounds like an intelligent, bouncing piece of indie rock perfection that dances and delights from start to end. I Will Be the World contains subtle moments amongst chaotic guitar strumming and heavier rock instrumentals whereas Let Me See What Happens Next is a romantic piano ballad with lines like “We’ll hibernate tonight” showing a more sensitive, romantic side to the band.
Throughout That’s Your Lot we can see signs of a band who are destined for bigger things. Their rawness touches a spot deeper than you could think it would and whilst the shorter moments provide instant pleasure, it’s the more lengthy pieces, which twist and turn and layer up upon one another, that provide the ultimate joy. It’s a well accomplished album that’s lived up to the expectation and talent of the band.