Brits in Hot Weather #5: Sisteray, Alpines, RuthAnne, Inland, and the Run Up
In this edition we have swaggering rock 'n' roll from Sisteray, shadowy trip hop from Alpines, classy contemporary pop from RuthAnne, intricate ambient techno from Inland, and life-affirming pop-punk from the Run Up.
Welcome to, quite astoundingly, the fifth edition of Brits in Hot Weather. The reaction to this feature has been far beyond anything I could have hoped for. Most importantly, it has put 20 brilliant artists in the spotlight and shown the sheer depth and breadth of musical talent in the UK. Before I get all misty-eyed, I think it's time to crack on and give you another five.
As with before, the premise of this feature is simple. Five songs from five British artists that I hope will make your day a little better. In this edition, we have swaggering rock 'n' roll from Sisteray, shadowy trip hop from Alpines, classy contemporary pop from RuthAnne, intricate ambient techno from Inland, and life-affirming pop-punk from the Run Up.
Sisteray - "Wannabes"
After five editions of Brits in Hot Weather, one thing has become abundantly clear. British guitar music is not only alive and kicking; it's in positively rude health. So far, Blackwaters, Fatherson, Dead Naked Hippies, Annabel Allum, Sorry, and Thyla have all provided a pointed rebuke to any dullard who proffers the tired, old argument that "guitar music is dead". To further hammer home the point, you can now add Sisteray to that list with their slamming new single "Wannabes".
On "Wannabes", the London four-piece funnel their raw, restless energy into a sharp, biting dig at the hangers-on, posers, and fakers. Recalling the irrepressible punk energy of early Oasis, the song charges forward with its afterburners on full. Propelled by a stomping glam rock bassline and wave after wave of distorted guitar it builds to the kind of monumental chorus that will be bellowed back at the band from adoring crowds for years to come.
However, "Wannabes" is something more. It also encapsulates everything that the band stands for. That single-minded belief in the majesty of music with substance and heart. A combative stance against anyone who is in it for anything other than the music. At its core lies a very simple, unifying call for a new generation to believe in rock 'n' roll again.
Sisteray's new EP, Said, comes out on Friday (14 September). They are heading out on tour very soon, and the shows are going to be immense.
Alpines - "Out of View"
Musically, on "Out Of View" London duo Alpines take their love of '90s rave and classic R&B to cast a dubby, trip-hop shadow over singer Catherine Pockson's impassioned, powerful vocals.
"Out of View" finds Pockson exploring the vulnerability that comes with surrendering your heart to someone. That unimaginable fear of thinking about what you would do should the walls of the relationship come crashing down. The knowledge that no anesthetic in the world could numb the pain of a breakup.
Built on deep, brooding keyboard chords and fractured beats that drift in and out of focus, the song recalls Tracey Thorn's stunning work with Massive Attack. The potency of Pockson's voice is matched by the depth of emotion it conveys. It's weighted with poignancy and resilience that evoke the classic soul singers of the past whose voices were instilled with a resounding inner strength no matter the obstacle.
Taken from their forthcoming album Full Bloom, "Out Of View" suggests the pair are making the most intriguing work of their careers to date.
Full Bloom is released on 14 November.
RuthAnne - "Liquid"
After cutting her teeth writing for others, London-based, Irish singer, RuthAnne (yeah, I know but it's my column so I can do what I like!), has struck out on her own, using all that she's learned to craft something that takes in all of her influences from Lauryn Hill to Amy Winehouse.
As with her previous singles "The Vow" and "Take My Place", new single "Liquid" sees RuthAnne put a fresh spin on modern pop, this time viewing it through the prism of R&B and classic soul. Framed by a steady R&B rhythm, RuthAnne's now characteristic, striking acoustic guitar playing is brought fully into focus. These chiming acoustic guitar notes ring out providing the inescapable hook for RuthAnne to hang her emotionally resonate vocals on.
Musically, it's a cleverly layered, dynamic pop song but, as ever, it's RuthAnne's arresting, soulful voice that draws you in. Airborne from the off, there is a burgeoning defiance to her vocals that perfectly suits the subject matter as they swell to become a full-on, take-no-shit anthem. As she explains, that was the aim of the song:
"'Liquid' is basically my response to any haters, fake friends and trolls out there. People seem to just talk on a surface level to each other, but then tear each other apart behind their back, or from behind a computer screen. Everyone has become a critic which means that more and more people are feeling the pressure to be perfect... to portray perfection. I allowed myself to be real about shit that wasn't so great in my life and then write this song, calling it out for what it is and not letting any of it get to me anymore."
RuthAnne's new album will be released in early 2019.
Inland - "Wirecam"
"Wirecam" is the first single from British electronic musician, Inland, aka Ed Davenport. Taken from his debut album An Invitation to Disappear, Davenport has reworked much of the material he did for a soundtrack to a video installation by conceptual artist Julian Charrière. Both the soundtrack and the album were created to remember the eruption of the Mount Tambora volcano that lies in the dense jungle of Sumbawa in Indonesia. An eruption that plunged the world into darkness, forcing many communities to adapt to sudden climate change and extreme weather conditions.
Opening with echoing circles of synths and the metallic clink of percussion, the cramped, murky electronics replicates the feeling of a disorienting, trip into the unknown like the first tentative steps into the dark jungle. As the song slinks further into the claustrophobic gloom, the atmospheric electronics heighten, curling around you like branches and vines entwining in the dense canopy above. Suddenly, the mood lifts as the song takes a dramatic left turn to become a full-on club, floor filler. Riding scuffed beats and synths that cut through like sirens, it's akin to suddenly finding a banging dancefloor deep in the gloaming.
An Invitation to Disappear is released on 28 September.
The Run Up - "The Upside of Being Down"
The new single from Bristol band, the Run Up, is a super tight pop-punk tune that takes all those worries about work, relationships and the bills, crumbles them in a tight ball and tosses them in the bin.
Rich with pop-punk melodies, clamorous guitars, and taut hooks, the first single from the band's new EP, Good Friends, Bad Luck, values the importance of friendship over everything else. Shorn from the hard battles won it acknowledges how the very best friends, the people who have seen you at your absolute best and worst, can always be relied upon to lead the cavalry charge when you need them most. Vocalist Larry Bernard elaborates further:
"We decided on 'Good Friends, Bad Luck' because of the amount of shitty luck we've had on the road recently with our van breaking down, missing shows and even getting robbed of our wheels on a dual carriageway in Germany." Bernard states. "We are super lucky to have each other to rely on to make the best of the bad situations."
No surprise then, that "The Upside of Being Down" is the kind of life-affirming anthem that brings groups of sweaty friends together in the pit, unified by the memory of good times as they bellow back the line, "That golden summer we were unstoppable".
See you down there Alex and Fred.
Good Friends, Bad Luck will be released on 28 September.
So, there we go. Five brilliant songs for you to fall in love with. Remember, that all of these songs and all of the others featured on Brits in Hot Weather appear on our new, very handy Spotify playlist. It's already one hell of a list so get stuck in. Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and hopefully see you at a gig real soon.
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