Album Review – And So I Watch You From Afar, Heirs

Mexican trumpets, haunting vocals, clashing cymbals, heavy bass lines, isolated, echoes, organs……. it would seem that locking yourself in a linen mill in West Belfast for 6 months is a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

Isolation is a scary place no doubt, but inspiration, creativity and courage can come from it. It can work for some bands when recording an album, and not for others. It depends on the group chemistry I suppose. But it can also depend on the ability to embrace oneself as a group – to look at what you know; what you can do, what is easy, and say fuck it, let’s try something a little different.

ASIWYFA has done just this. This album feels so ‘them’ but, erupting from their 6 month stint in the linen mill, they have created an album that has been summoned from the collective psyche of the group as a whole – from what they know, what works, and what they haven’t tried before.

The beast that is ASIWYFA
The beast that is ASIWYFA

Listening through the tracks, influences abound, but nothing you can pin to any one particular genre (unlike previous albums). These influences give rise to a fun, inspiring and eclectic album – from Snarky Puppy, The XX, to Steve Vai, and Passion Pit. Something I never thought I would write.

Run Home, the album opener,  is a stomper, and will sound great live. Wasps holds a persistent low drone bass line throughout while kicking out ethereal echoing harmonies.

Redesigned a Million Times has a surprising Brit rock/Arctic Monkeys intro which makes way for Passion Pit style electronica and vocals. I can see this being released as a single, and hope it make the radio waves this summer. It would be a nice one to rock out to in the car!

Track five  People not Sleeping  screams of Snarky Puppy in the guitar riffs, while the guitar takes a back seat to a thumping bass line and thunderous clanging drums in A Beacon, A Compass, An Anchor. Animal Ghosts is a personal favourite which has a great live anthem feel to it – it begins as if the lads only pressed record in the middle of the guitar solo only to be usurped by a Mexican trumpet sliding in from the left in the most unexpectedly fitting way I have event heard. Nice.

Heirs, the title and longest track is reminiscent of Steve Vai’s  1990 album Passion and Warfare . It has a timid and timely build up to heavy euphoric release, changing pace midway, only to absolutely kill it for the last minute and a half.

The final track Tryer, You is a nice emotive finale to the album. It sounds almost like a ‘thank you for listening to the album and being a fan’ tune. It reminds me of the brilliant self titled album by The XX, but with more tempo.

I don’t usually analyse tracks so closely on an album review. I like to let people make their own inspirational objective thoughts on what they are hearing, not just what I hear. The Belfast quartet have produced an album here that has been inspired by their life and all the music and sounds they have heard to date. I suppose that’s what I have done here too by listening to this album in isolation for the last few days.

This album is as inspiring as it is original. Its ‘central theme is about the inheritance of ideas’. I  hope in turn, it inspires others to be passionate and original too.

Heirs drops May 4th on Sargent House. Catch them live at the Olympia June 19th.

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