Fluttering over adversity, Leicester ensemble’s debut locates light in the gloom.
For all the cosmic transparency of their music, this quartet’s first single was born of tragedy, the record’s title referring to a radiotherapy technique offered to singer Kelvyn Martin’s wife, yet it’s also the reflection of the method’s selective targeting of tissue: that’s how the quartet’s members approach their melodies. As all of them play guitars alongside other instruments to create mini-epics, of which there are three, the group gravitate towards prog rock while retaining folk-infused lyricism, so the vibrant soundscapes on offer never stray into abstractness.
Still, ambience is a major force on “Papillon Theme” whose snippets of spoken word dissolve in tranquil strum until Roy Naidoo’s electronica start to stumble between Adi Barrett’s beat to spice up the piece’s expanse in the most solemn manner, whereas the organ-rolling “Wings Of Hope” deliberately marries “Comfortably Numb” to “Heart Of Gold” – in trope terms – and lets its tuneful twang, punctured with Andy Heggs’ bass, build quiet tension again. That’s the ground for “St. Martins West” – a piano-laden ballad sending the listener to Leicester’s ancient hospital – and the collective’s future. They can, and must, fly high.