The swirling, melodic rock and miraculous existence of ‘Britain’s most northerly band’, NEON WALTZ is celebrated in celestial style with the release of the band’s long-awaited debut album, Strange Hymns on Ignition Records on Fri 18 August 2017. Following three, acclaimed singles and thousands of road miles meeting public demand for their breathlessly crystalline, chiming, guitar-forward pop, the John O’Groats six-piece has turned picturesque isolation into something truly beautiful in the form of their first long-player.
Gathering influences from rain-soaked indie to Californian sunshine-flecked psychedelia, Neon Waltz have transcended the geography that keeps them in splendid seclusion, tucked away in the Scottish Highlands, with a set of intricately crafted songs. Needle-sharp lyrics riven through Neon Waltz’ wall of sound evoke the freedom and fury in the world that surrounds them, the ideals of youth, expansive ideas of small town romantics and the lifeline brought to all of us through simple, yet often elusive, hope.
Recorded at almost the furthest possible point from home without taking a boat or plane, it was a studio in Eastbourne, Sussex (with additional sessions in Glasgow, London & Dublin) where Neon Waltz settled for their album sessions in late-summer 2016. Encamped once again in view of the sea, Jordan Shearer (Vocals), Darren Coghill (Drums), Kevin Swanson (Guitar), Jamie Swanson (Guitar), Calvin Wilson (Bass) and Liam Whittles (Keyboards), got to work on their expansive masterpiece.
Opening with Sundial, the atmospheric rush of an indeterminable soundscape opens up to reveal the album’s first resounding call to arms for every lost, wayward soul before fan-favourite, Dreamers (“A clarion call for the creatives and those that dare to defy boundaries.” – Tenement TV) presents an early gift for any listeners looking to be blown away by the band’s promise. The insistent bass line, the dancing keys and euphoric splashes of percussion swagger along with Shearer’s soaring vocal, a defiant and inspirational call to preserve, embrace and make the best of freedom wherever and whenever it is found.
Listen to ‘Dreamers’ BELOW:
Perfect Frame (“Grandiose gorgeousness” – DIY) is another, perhaps, premature highlight that threatens belief that the album could have anywhere more joyously intense to go, laden as it is with a palette of moods swinging from sparse serenity to breathless abandon. However, the album’s rich bounty continues to peak, rising to its centre point with ‘You & Me’, delivered in the best traditions of evocative, truly anthemic indie-rock songwriting as the gentle footsteps of the opening verses grow into the giant footsteps of a stadium-flooding chorus. Bring Me To Light follows shortly after with similarly pulse-quickening reverie, cutting gently sparkling synths with an unleashed rhythm section and even the rumour of a rare Neon Waltz guitar solo.
Heavy Heartless (“A majestic wall of melody, the sound of six musicians and friends broadcasting on exactly the same frequency” – Gigslutz) opens with barely a flicker of instrumentation, Shearer’s coy, soul-baring vocal carrying the song before a colossal wave of sound propels the emotive chorus skyward. Deft, sensitive use of mood sees the album close gently with Veiled Clock, a lullaby sang in harmonies designed to dissipate the adrenaline of the previous nine tracks, closing an album of dexterity, passion and soul.
Since forming in 2013, Neon Waltz have toured the UK constantly, covering up to 1,400 miles from their base in Caithness as far as Brighton each time, and have appeared at festivals including T In The Park as well as supporting artists including Noel Gallagher and The Coral. Recent singles have attracted radio play on national stations including BBC Radio 1, 6 Music, Radio X and Absolute Radio, swelling a growing national fan base.
The band has recently completed a headline tour and will be appearing at the following festivals over the summer:
28th July Kendal Calling, Cumbria
3rd-5th August Belladrum, Inverness
19th August Wick, Sounds of the Summer
30th August Moth Club, London
Neon Waltz ‘Strange Hymns’ Track Listing:
3. Perfect Frame
4. Bare Wood Aisles
5. You & Me
6. Sombre Fayre
7. Bring Me To Light
8. Heavy Heartless
10. Veiled Clock