Will You Be Mine
Will You Be Mine is available at:
2nd October, 2015
TODAY offers me a unique stand-away from the normal…
crop of bands coming through at the moment. In addition to reviewing my first parenthetical band; it is a chance to witness a young group who are among the most tender and fledgling out there- whilst demonstrating huge confidence and assuredness early on. Before I get to them, let me talk about young bands- that go against the boy band market- the music of Liverpool and the dwindling Rock market. Let’s start by looking at young bands coming out at the moment. It seems like music’s fresh-faced are becoming younger by the year. I am seeing a lot of teenage acts coming out that sound completely tight and fully-formed. Of course youthfulness does not equate to appeal and quality- there are a lot of very young bands that sound underdeveloped and lacking. The media has an obsession with music and age- they get into a delirious tizzy every time a baby-faced clan arrived with stunning music- which is putting a lot of pressure on the rest of music. A great deal of artists coming through feel the need to hit particular targets by a certain age- if they do not do it they can feel adjudged to be a failure. The fact of the matter is that a lot of these younger acts are quite insignificant and lacking any real promise and bite- making anxieties and stresses (from other musicians) inappropriate. It is great when a young band come along that actually possesses balls and a sense of longevity. It is always quite hard to see which bands are going to be genuine contenders when it comes to the next year. My featured act plays a mixture of Pop and Rock. Whilst I am not a fan of some of the acts they have supported- I find Scouting for Girls unbearably annoying and poor- (The Ambition) are in no way or shape anything like the predictable crop of Pop-lite nonsense you hear blaring from the likes of Heart or Capital F.M. If you dump any comparisons with your Five Seconds of Summer, One Direction and their ilk- the sort of money-makers that record companies love to mould and replicate with no ear for quality and musicality- we have an act that have more in common with Rock’s elite. Whilst their best work is ahead of them, there is enough to suggest (The Ambition) will live up the hype and create something great in 2016. Before I go into more depth, let me introduce Liverpool’s promising young act:
“Tipped by the industry as the next big thing, The Ambition is made up of Jack Morton, Ant Brady and Scott and Max Mealey. The Liverpool based four piece exploded online in 2015 and have established a hardcore fan base which is growing at an incredible rate.
The Ambition have already made an impact on the main stages of some of the UK’s most prestigious events and festivals. Performing their high energy, catchy rock pop sets and appearing at events alongside the likes of Scouting for Girls, Rebecca Ferguson and Basement Jaxx.
Showing no sign of slowing down and setting up camp in the studio working on their next EP, 2016 is set to be an exciting year for The Ambition”.
The band has a down-to-earth and fan-friendly look that will see them featured on the front of magazines and playlist rotations. We all get pre-conceived ideas when it comes to the fresh-looking bands and what they will offer in terms of music. You do not need to look a certain way- or be a particular age in fact- to create music that brims with quality and appeal. What (The Ambition) does is bridge the gap between radio-friendly Pop- there are enough teenage edges to appeal to the young girls and boys of music- whilst stretching their ambitions to fuse something more credible and appealing- harder Rock sounds that give you a flavor of bygone legends. I have seen some fantastic acts this year that have plenty of scope; it seems our Liverpool clan could be mixing it among the hungriest music has to offer. Liverpool is a city that is staying in the public consciousness when it comes to new music. There seems to be this north-south divide with regards music and the attention of the media. As much as I love London the bands/acts playing here; it is worth extending sights and seeing what the north of the divide can provide. Take the sapling lads of (The Ambition) and you get little touches of Oasis and Arctic Monkeys; some Power-Pop of the ‘60s- elements from the north and their hometown into the mix. Were they just to offer aimless heaviness and nonsensical choruses and you’d skip past them and lose concentration- instead their music rewards concentration and provides something deeper and more enduring. I am really impressed by the bands coming out of Liverpool at this time. Liverpool Calling hosted the likes of Jackobins- an act I have reviewed before- and Organ Freeman. Whilst the bands have not reinvented the wheel- it is hard to display true originality and lack of compromise- they produce music that is elementary in its passion and fever; it is arena-filling and crowd-winning. With the likes of Hooton Tennis Club and Strange Collective creating buzz and excitement; Liverpool is showing just how productive and fertile she is. It is perhaps no surprise that (The Ambition) have captured the mindset and attentions of the city: they make music that rivals the best out there; it has a universal flair and appeal that means they will be festival favourites. Whilst a lot of Liverpool bands go straight for the jugular- and tend to focus too heavily on Rock and Alternative- our featured act dig a little deeper and ply some colours and subtleties of Pop into the fold. At the moment Rock seems to be suffering serious illness. Perhaps passing years and lack of maneuverable room has led to problems and a cessation of innovation. I am finding there are too few Rock bands that sound new and different. Many are contended to cling onto their idols without altering the sound and pushing themselves- it leads to a lot of short-term acts that waste a lot of time and effort. Even the likes of Royal Blood- and their critically-lauded debut- are too close to the likes of The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters. Whilst Royal Blood have enough punch, epic anthems and ability to throw off the lack of originality; their newly-bred peers are not faring too well by comparison. For that reason you need to bring other genres into your music and ensure it does not become insipid and predictable. Thankfully (The Inspiration) have a boss sound with nouse and diversity to it. They will be going onto create their best moments; their early movements showcase plenty of promise and force- outranking most of their peers and demonstrating why they have been hotly-tipped to be kings of 2016.
If you want a full assessment of Will You Be Mine, then it is worth digging into the past of the young band. Jack Morton, Scott Mealey, Max Mealey and Anthony Brady have crafted a few other songs which show what a prospect (The Ambition) is. Their debut E.P. Journeys was released earlier this year and was a chance to get into the mindset of a terrific young band laying down their marker. Next To You shows maturity and impassioned vocals amidst rushing sonics and a central message of heartfelt love and intention. Our hero wants to return home and be next to his girl. Able to conquer the world and take anything on; he would not ask for anything were he to be beside his girl. There are shades of Pop contemporaries and bands yet the boys have more edge and nuance than their peers. Mixing sounds of ‘80s Pop (in a good way) there is less reliance on processing, Auto-tune and too-polished production. You get some raw emotion and naturalness come out in the song- the E.P. has terrific production and definite quality- that means it sounds more grown-up and compelling than 90% of the Pop fodder out there. You and Me continues alongside the same lines of dedicated love and yearning. Propelled by a sprite and cheery composition the vocals are at their most insistent and urgent on the disc. Spiked and electric guitars add some much-needed grit into a story that evokes the deliriousness of ‘60s Power-Pop around themes that look at dream-like love and intoxicating bonds. The song’s heroine has got her man tied-up and fantasising; hooked and fascinated by all she offers- caught up in a spell. Why the themes and ideas expressed are commonplace and cliché; the band utilise them to their own means and come up with sentiment that will appeal to their teenage audience- whilst boasting an adultness and strength that sets them aside from any preconceptions and easily labeling. Our man is dreaming when the lights go out; the infectious and simple chorus hook has a Folk edge to it that will get people chanting and chorusing along. It is the endless positivity and alacrity that makes the song impossible to dislike. The highlight from Journeys; it sees a band that can pen a hook and keep audiences compelled to the end. Never Let You Down expands their compositions and brings something more Rock-tinged and harder into the fray. A merry and skipping composition showcases another bold and direct vocal that deals with love and the voice of a heroine. Once again you get vocal chanting and chorus- not the inane way Coldplay trot it out in every track- but something that has a boisterous charm and heart to it. Whilst the composition has an energy and spring to it; the lyrics are more introspective and haunted at their core. There is a lot of positivity and hope yet some lingering pain and emptiness can be heard beneath the surface. Adding emotional depth is vital with regards musical respect and development; listeners of all ages can appreciate what the E.P. offers and how far it reaches.
Since the E.P. – and bearing Will You Be Mine into things- the band have not reshaped and changed their sound a lot. Being a brand-new act, you would not expect them to sound like Metallica or Basement Jaxx on their new track; they do sound more confident and nuanced here. Whilst their E.P. was a bold and accomplished release; they have a bit more intrigue and passion about them. It is crucial to keep their melodic and sunny approach in their music; what they have done is offer more variation and range in their latest cut- that could lead to a different-sounding E.P. in 2016. I know the boys are going to be touring and in the studio again; it will be great to see the music live and up-close. They are that confident and complete straight off the blocks- let’s hope they keep that momentum firm in the coming year.
With a high production video and a terrific story-line, it shows the band have a lot of confidence in Will You Be Mine. The track gets off to a racing start with a spiraling guitar coda that promotes vitality, raggedness and emotional conflict. The boys show how together and tight they are from the start; keeping everything quite tense and nervy- whilst allowing some space and reflectiveness to creep in. The early vocal is rich in emotion and soulfulness; conveying conviction and a great sense of desire. Our hero attests it’s not “too late to go back to that place where we used to be”. Whether documenting an emotional space or a geographical location; there is that need to reconnect with his girl and get her back. It is not clear whether the relationship has hit the rocks or whether there is just a sense of detachment between them. Perhaps things have petered-out and there isn’t that necessary spark and kismet between them. Our hero’s heart will always call out “for you and me”; there is that flaming passion and need underpinning the vocals. A lot of listeners will be able to connect with those themes of desire and loss; the need to connect with something that may have passed- unwilling to surrender and let it die. Augmented by that heartfelt and rich vocal, we here our hero “see that look in your eye”; the one that tells him not to go- you become intrigued by the reasons and truths behind the song. Perhaps our man has to step away or focus on something else- maybe the realities of music life and their demands are having an effect- but it is clear the break-up is unwanted and unpopular. The decision seems to be more firm with our hero; that need to start afresh and step away is evident. Remembering his girl and those initial impressions- how she looked and the glint in her eyes- there are evocations of a better past and the purity of the initial moments. Perhaps the idealism and expectations have changed; the reality of the bond has come into view- that is why he has to step away. Their ambitions and desires seem separate and there is little room for compromise or an agreement. Causing strain and emotions, you can hear that regret and sense of fear in the hero’s voice. Backed by a composition that provides support and strength- not cheapening proceedings with sunniness and false emotions- and you have a song that remains focused and mature throughout. Wondering how he could replace someone that “used to be my everything” the lyrics do not stray too far from the likes of their contemporaries- although that is no bad thing. When it comes to love and relationships, it is hard to craft lines that are original and that distinct- without losing their universality and truth. Few listeners can refute the passion and power that is emitted from the vocal; that will to explain things and express that pain and loss. Our boy is struggling to stand quietly by his girl; there are words and things he needs to say- perhaps remaining quiet to avoid conflict or say things that may make things worse. There are some silent moments and awkwardness as things are starting to crumble; the reality the two may not see one another- and life as they know it is going to change forever. Among the throng of heartache and suffering there is a stoic and resilience to things; you feel like our hero will be able to regroup and get back to life as normal. Whilst he is in the eye of the storm he has tried to keep his emotions in-check and together; he is letting it all go at the moment and submitting to the sheer force of the break-up. It seems like the relationship may have been less storybook than first imagined. It seems our man was “led astray” and been lied to. Now he is finding his way “back home” there is that given of improvement and a mature attitude to things. The video for the song looks at a middle-aged couple at a hospital bed. The husband sits by his wife as she starts to fade and deteriorate- leading to different impressions and interpretations. Part of your brain could relate the words to family concern- perhaps a fond relative that is starting to get ill and depart- although one suspects the video’s plot is designed to portray a love that is breaking down for reasons that cannot be avoided. Quite an intriguing and open-for-interpretation, the boys ensure those heavy words and wracked souls are not too dark and shadowy. The wordless vocal and rousing chorus injects enough optimism and energy to keep the song vibrant and uplifted. The chorus and its declarations- whether the girl will be his- is perhaps that need to recapture something that has faded and the refusal to move on. The song has some obliqueness and mixed messages that keep it fascinating. Whilst our man seems to be rebuilding and accepting the break-up there is that denial and that want to get the girl back (and recapture what they had). Whether it is ever possible- or he is fooling himself and knows it is a hopeless cause- it gets the listener guessing and hooked. The band creates a vibrant swirl and attack that enforced the song’s messages and keeps that drama and electricity firm to the last notes.
With bands like Coldplay taking their foot off the gas- short of ideas and repeating themselves; songs that don’t match their glory days- we need Pop-Rock bands that have the potential to remain surprising and strong. Being a teenage band you would excuse some sharp corners and ragged edges to the music. What you get is a band that sounds like they have been playing for many years- they are as tight and assured as any out there. Their lyrics are quite every day and universal- they document common themes and do not stray too far from worn subjects- although it is a move that is necessary and smart. Their audience and listeners have been through similar experiences and want to hear songs that reflect their life and pain. Were the band to pen something that was out of the comfort zone then they would lose followers and alienate their fans. Packing much more punch and energy into one song than most bands create across an album; you have spades of nuance and recommendations here. I am not a huge fan of Pop-Rock bands but have found an act I can get on board with and relate to. They have plenty of maturity and aerodynamics that means the vocals and compositions do not get bogged-down into predictable and bland waters. Perhaps their most focused and memorable work; here is a band that matures and develops with each new release. The performances are impressive and stunning throughout the song; contrasting sensitivity and raw emotion with dignity and aplomb. With the scene being defined by a lack of quality- critics beholding bands that are not worth their weight- it is refreshing to see the Liverpool boys come along and earn their plaudits. They have had a busy and productive 2015 so should be very proud of what they have achieved. They connect with so many people and Will You Be Mine is an assured and brilliant song that will see their fan-base rise.
Whether it is The Ambition or (The Ambition); they are not a band that need changing or parenthetic. I was a little wary reviewing the band- thinking we would have a One Direction-type act that would cause me some ethical conflicts- yet I am pleased to announce they are a lot more appealing and stunning than any boy band out there. In spite of the fact the boys are in the teens; that does not lead to music that is infantile and immature. Beyond the moody photography- the boys barely crack a smile in any of their press releases- it is a red herring that is quite necessary. Were there too many zany shots and stupid photos- you know the type favoured in teen magazines- they would be written-off as another off-the-rack boyband with nothing to say and nauseating personalities. If their music were moody and downbeat then they would lack appeal and any sort of longevity. What the Liverpool band does is showcase mature and adult aesthetics with music that ties sunny Pop of the mainstream with some credible Rock edges favoured on the current scene. When it comes to tipping new bands for 2016- and those we should all keep an eye out- it is well worth putting some time and energy in the direction of (The Ambition). The boys recently played at Harrods- an experienced that seemed unique and unforgettable- and they are mounting a charge on the musical landscape. Will You Be Mine is another bold move by one of the hottest up-and-coming bands around. I stated Liverpool breeds quality and consistency; no exaggeration when thinking of our featured bands and what they have shown so far. If you check out Google- and search for ‘best Liverpool bands of 2015’- you get a good range of acts that show variety and promise. (The Ambition) are creeping up and gaining impressions and support from all the right quarters. Being so young it is forgivable they have an essence of mainstream Pop- it is necessary to appeal to their target audience- but I can see them developing and expanding their sound as the years progress. The early signs are hugely encouraging and show a band that want to remain on the scene for a long time yet. With so many young bands out there; the media are crawling over themselves to highlight and proclaim certain bands as ‘the next big thing’. I am always sceptical by these lists- including the B.B.C.’s annual list that is always a little shaky- and find that they do not reflect public tastes and the majority of music-lovers. We should not herald and focus on bands because they are young- it does not mean they will be good or last even- but on the quality of their recordings. When you discover an act that is young AND good then it is worth making predications and speculations. With Liverpool mothering some of the U.K.’s best bands we should keep our attention on the north-west city. It seems like Rock is going through a recession at the moment and not giving the same returns it did a few years back- the acts coming through don’t have the originality and inventiveness they once had. It will be good to see (The Ambition) come and play London and take their Pop-cum-Rock sounds in person. Their optimism and powerful choruses are equalled by their lyrics which tap common themes and give them a personal spin. I am tired and fed-up of the bland and inane Pop bands that come through- as are most of the public for the matter- so it is good to see a band come through with a bit of gravitas and difference. Let’s hope our Liverpool band get back into the studio and lay down some new sounds for 2016. Will You Be Mine is an insight into what they can achieve and where they are now. It is a mixture of youthful love and multi-coloured sounds wrapped around a tight and mature performance that result in plenty of appeal and weight. It may be too early to see exactly how far (The Ambition) will head but for now- and bearing their latest single in mind- it is all looking quite rosy and prosperous. If you are hesitant about embracing sunshine Pop and something teenage, then do not be put off by history and the current crop coming out. With these boys coming through…
POP is being given a good name.
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