Some bands tread water, each album is a reiteration of their debut, their sophomore and their comeback. All Hail Bright Futures is not this. It’s evolutionary, and as the title suggests. It’s a bright future. While Gangs may have been a war cry, All Hail Bright Futures is a brave leap forward into a new musical style and direction with just enough of a nod to their efforts have neither been abandoned or ignored.
The challenge that an instrumental outfit faces is that they have can’t rely on a standout vocalist or songwriter. Each track that is produced needs to be tight, coordinated and so utterly well performed that you are completely engrossed.
With a 8-bit arcade entrance, ‘Eunoia’ brings us into the fold with a simple cyclical introduction that explodes into ‘Big Thinks Do Remarkable’, a track that simply explodes with differing textures. Guitars and drums work with mathematical precision while supersonic synths reach fever pitch as a simple vocal refrain builds the song to a frenetic end. ‘Like A Mouse’ and ‘Ambulance’ astound us with a staggering level of pace that shows no sign of letting up.
While the first quartet of tracks harken back to previous efforts, the three parts of ‘The Stay Golden’ are simply stunning. It’s bombastic and for ten minutes we are taken on multifaceted journey that shows And So I Watch You From Afar know how to experiment. Steel drums don’t often go hand in hand with experimental rock but here it does. There is an uplifting quality to this new sound and while we are not witnessing a reinvention, a lot of good can be said for a tweak here and there that augments and improves.
The almost orchestral ‘Mend And Make Safe’ is a perfect example of how you don’t always need to destroy the room with noise. With a tidy drum pattern, buzzing guitars and a refreshingly different flute medley we have on display here a band that is having tremendous fun making new music. The fun continues with ‘Ka Ba Ta Bo Da Ka’ a cheery, funky, bass-filled number that is far and away the least conventional track on this varied and fascinating album.
‘Things Amazing’ is a tease of a song, only clocking in at one minute thirty but its main job is to set up the album’s eponymous track. ‘All Hail Bright Futures’ provides a symbiosis of old and new, and the bright future this young band has to look forward to. The album flies in and before long we have the seven minute epic ‘Young Brave Minds’ to finish things off. It’s a sweeping, breathtaking track that brings everything ASIWYFA have learned and like the album itself, leans towards a great, bright future.
◀ STANDOUT ⁞ The Stay Golden (Parts 1, 2 and 3)▶