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Archive Album Review: All Hail Bright Futures by And So I Watch You From Afar

Northern Irish post rock act And So I Watch You From Afar release their third album All Hail Bright Futures on the 19th March. It's massive sounding, expansive and hypnotic, intricate and full of many different layers you'll discover something new with each listen. With their second album Gangs, ASIWYFA found a new groove and that development continues throughout All Hail Bright Futures. While many contemporaries in the same genre fall foul of letting instrumental tracks meander and become boring ASIWYFA inject life at every turn making for a thrilling and break neck album. All Hail Bright Futures in a new monster, taking the band off in many new and extraordinary directions.

Album opener ‘Eunoia’ breaks us in gentle with a subtle yet succulent groove before all hell is let loose with ‘Big Thinks Do Remarkable’. It’s chaotic in a structured way and the advent of vocals in the form of “The sun, the sun, the sun… is in our eyes” gives the track a whole new feel to previous material. With fourth track ‘Ambulance’ there seems to be a real swagger to the sound, the band go all post hardcore, not sounding dissimilar to At The Drive-In, before its beautiful piano led outro. ‘The Stay Golden’ is full of heavily distorted guitars giving a electronic feel, reminiscent of label mates Adebisi Shank. The funky bass groove is again fantastic.

Five tracks in and you’ll notice a big change to And So I Watch You From Afar. For many other bands it’d be nothing, but the addition of conservatively used vocals have added a new layer. Don’t be mistaken, these vocals are used sparingly and chanted rather than sung, their addition is significant to the poweress of ‘Rats on A Rock’ which is monstrous and expansive from start to finish. ‘Make Mend and Safe’ is brilliantly intricate, full on riffs sit wonderfully beside individual picked notes and the surprise addition of a flute.

‘Ka Ba Ta Bo Da Ka’ starts of all Futureheads-like with the title sang in harmony, it creates a lovely vocal groove which transforms into a brilliant bass groove which carries the track along until a pulsating riffs kicks in. And mark my words, it is fantastic, it’s executed perfectly sending shivers down your back. This power is carried through to the short and snappy ‘Things Amazing’ creating a electrifying whirlwind of riffs.

With the title track you get treated to some xylophone, and with it ASIWYFA manage to create a remarkably joyful and whimsical sounding track. That upbeat sound is prevalent throughout the album and particularly evident on album closer ‘Young Brave Minds’ which manages to encapsulate the entire album and perhaps the bands career into one track –  incorporating vocals, serene moments, groove, bombastic drumming and all out heavy riffs.

Simply put All Hail Bright Futures is brilliant and peerless. Not only have And So I Watch You From Afar bucked the trends of their contemporaries but they’ve let loose with their sound and grown and developed into a whole new beast.

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