Yours For As Long As You Keep Me
Masters of “Sexy Sexy Love Music” have a rare sense of humour, and sounds that are seriously good.
Yours For As Long As You Keep Me is available at:
UNIFYING elements from the ’60s and ’70s, and fusing them with…
movements of the modern-age, is near-essential when producing music that can inspire masses, as well as paving the way for other bands to do likewise. Originality and the nature of identity is something that is elementally flawed. New bands are always tasked with coming up with ‘their own identity’ or having a sound that was theirs, and theirs alone. There are a multitude of issues when trying to formulate a very utilitarian business plan. Not only does an act have to please the media: critics, reviews and the likes; they also need to recruit fans, inspire fellow acts, as well as appeal to the next generation of upcoming musicians. Archiving this is damn near impossible: every sector demands a different sound or sensation, and pleasing everyone is never going to happen. If a group is considered too individual or ‘eccentric’ then they risk alienating large sectors from the off; at best they can hope to elicit some retrospective appeal and restoration. The main problem with acts today is that they either ape existing music, or else have too many familiar tones in their songs. The latter is far more depressing and common-place and exemplifies the current scene, whilst going a long way to explaining why there are so few genuinely worthy bands on the market. It is the rarefied climbs of innovative and subversive base camps, that will inspire people like me- both as a reviewer and songwriter- to become excited and regain some semblance of faith in the potential of my generation. I can fully emphathise with the plight of the new act: there are myriad temptations and appeals to the music scene; yet striking the right balance is a precocious art form. In essence there is chemistry, biology and physics involved with regards to arriving at a profitable hypothesis. Bonding together the heart, mind, blood and ‘soul’ is an alchemy that is rarely perfected. If you can make your potential audience feel sympathy towards any- whether they are lyrical or musical- heartbreaks, then you win ‘souls’. If the music and words are authentically heartfelt and everyman, then hearts can be captured with ease. If, into the mix, you can throw in sparks of energy, magic and mystery; sure as hell the blood will rush to all parts (and I mean ALL), as well as boil with lustful stupor. Cementing the foundations with cerebral proffering, thought-provoking melodies, lyrics and songs appeal to the intelligence and hippocampus. For those willing to formulate ways of striking gold, and mining oil, then the rewards are multitudinous and affirming. Predilection leans towards ticking maybe three of these four boxes. More often than not, bands and solo artists negate the need to seduce the mind: concerned too much with electioneering to lowest common denominators. It seems that the most efficient way of being able to achieve all the necessary goals, is to marry sounds and sights from various eras. Add a little bit of ’60s and ’70s invigoration, with a smattering of ’90s swagger and sweat, and top it off with a drop of up-to-the-moment-2013, and you are going to yield healthier crops. Originality and a unique personality are sacrosanct as well, but can easily be obtained in addition to drawing in variable influences and genres. Not that this has seemed to penetrate to a lot of the modern-day crop, whom seem bereft in a sea of multiplicity, or else do not have enough mobility within their own sounds to be able to sustain longevity. A few, do, however, get it right…
Formed back in July of last year, and consisting of John, Jim, Elliot and Ben, our four-piece brethren hail from unrelated counties: Greater London, Warwickshire, Cheshire and Hertfordshire. Historically, those regions have sired some influential bands and acts; maybe Hertfordshire has been slightly more diffident and insular in that respect, but it is the acquired evocations from the diverse localities that has contributed to their accomplished sound. In addition to having won the Unsigned Isle of Wight Festival Competition, the boys are unsigned at the present time. Little is known with regards to the band members individual biographies: as well as scant being offered when pertaining to their heroes and influences. I have encountered many new acts that take similar lines; none want to give too much away, less reviewers and fans fixate too much upon it. When evaluating an act’s influences, many will use it as a pretense to sublimate the act’s potential, or lazily compare them (to the bands/artists that they are in awe of). I have been pointed in their direction by a lot of fellow musicians, including Steve Heron: a Scottish singer-songwriter. The guys have an evident sense of humour, and have a generously populate their social media pages, with links, reviews and information. They understand the importance of generous promotion and representation, as well as producing exciting and wide-ranging sounds. If you can pull of these under-used aces, then you are already 3/4 of the way to achieving long-term attention. Their name as well- Crystal Seagulls- is appropriately evocative and intriguing. Both precious but precocious; valuable yet antogonising. With odd imagery, strange dreams and psychedelic buzz in mind, I broached the subject of the band’s music.
The opening salvo is always tough to get right. You are mandated to hook people in, and keep their attentions held. Yours For As Long As You Keep Me, begins its climb and sight-seeing with appropriately gentle intention. There are distinctive patterns of the ’90s to be heard from the initial seconds: remnants of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?-Oasis; 1995-Britpop; essences of modern-day solo artistry too. Sparsity and emotional resonance are all present and correct, and it is the simplicity of the effective electric strum that leads in the song confidently. Lyrically, the mood shifts slightly from the shores of Oasis, Blur and from the ’60s masters as well as modern-day troubadours. If the skeleton hints at times past, the organs are very much that of Crystal Seagulls. “Saline drip my dream” is as evocative and provocative as any opening line; galvanised by “Blunt the edges/Reinforce what’s real”. A sense of dislocation as well as displacement linger within the opening verse. Poetic and direct notions go on to mix with oblique and dream-like sentiments. Everything is delivered with confidence and passion. When the second verse kicks in, it is done with audible abandon: the drum snaps into life, and an energy rush is elicited. Words of concern seem to layer into the mood. Our hero clearly has a girl in mind; one whom has caused sleepless nights and anxiety. You would never tell from the vocal tones that there is too much inner scarring. Like the brothers Gallagher, as well as northern contemporaries such as Doves and Elbow, there is a masculine confidence and bravado: even if you suspect that deeper down there is some pain and tears. From the opening thoughts, the energy is built ever upwards. By the time we hear of “So tell me if they work you like a dog?”, our protagonist unleashes a slight gravelly growl. Plenty of swagger is abound: the boys have a fond admiration for the heyday of ’90s music. You can hear the same little slams and lines in the verses; yet expectation is circumvented so that they come off as fresh and modern. As much as the quarter parade and march, underneath there is a sensitive that tells of times where they’d “gaze and watch your stars come alive”. There is an anthemic quality to proceedings. If I had to cheapen the moment and compare the track, I could hear elements of mid-career Blur, as well as early Oasis. A comparable quality and vitality rules the sound. Even if there are some Britpop-cum-Grunge undertones, then the abiding impression is very much one of 2013. The boys whom want it said: “Shoot me scouting for an even feel”, twist and turn their words inside out; display plain, hard emotion as well as more open-ended mystery. It is not just the lyrics and vocals that intrigue and strike. The rest of the band whip up gorgeous and diverse guitar lines, that go from ’90s blister, through to 1960s pop smile, via ’70s Steely Dan (and their jazz expeditions). Little flecks of Crowded House and their gift for vocal and audio melody, and a comparable lyrical talent is on display: “Cos if my heart counts for something/Don’t care what they say, it’s not wasted on you”. Crystal Seagulls can unveil their inner-most demons, yet infuse everything with a sense of bonhomie and uplifting energy. Ordinarily, songs that have slightly anxious or downbeat sentiments, are delivered with appropriate gloom. The boys keep everything positive and interesting. The percussion, bass and drum summon up lines and passages that are filled with blues authority, as well as star-gazing prowess from ’90s and ’60s pop annals. As much as there is introspection and questions asked, the abiding them is one of love and hope. The final line reads: “Be here by my side, I’m still here waiting for you”. It is a graceful and romantic coda, that encapsulates the song’s majesty.
I guess for a long time, I have bemoaned the lack of inspiring bands and sounds in the current scene. Perhaps my standards are too high, or my sights too narrow. Whatever is causing this malaise and very real discontent, is a long way from being reappropriated. Too many bands and new artists lack the basic knowledge and ambition that is required to capture minds. Even fewer are aware of what is required within a song/E.P./album, in order to captivate: must glaringly there is little originality or excitement. Crystal Seagulls understand that it is important to incorporate themes from bygone times into your sound. It displays no lack of innovation; quite the opposite in fact. They also have not fallen into the trap that most have, of distilling their own essence with too many other ingredients. Our four-piece, in Yours For As Long As You Keep Me, have laid down a song that is as ready-made for the festivals and arenas, as it is for the mainstream radio stations. It is unsurprising that success has come to them, and many are latching onto their sounds. Through a combination of fresh and impassioned vocals; pioneering and exciting musical lines, and a sharp and intelligent set of lyrics, the track manages to excite, endeavour, seduce and captivate. Not many bands can lay testament to that, and certainly not too many in 2013. Whatever the future holds for them: E.P.s, albums, tours or the like, they deserve to be snapped up and encouraged more by the record labels, as well as influential media bodies and outlets. Word of mouth, ambition, accomplishment and talent have got them a long way in a short time, but I suspect that their sights are set even further. In order to scale some ice-tipped peaks and murky climbs, a greater understanding and exposure needs to be begun. So long as they keep going strong, then the next few years should be very prosperous indeed. Join them, and see what the fuss is all about:
WOULD I lie to you?________________________________________________________________________