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Album Review: Longfellow – Remedy EP

 
By on Thursday, 16th April 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Longfellow Remedy EP coverLast summer, London-based alt rock / pop outfit Longfellow released the highly enjoyable ‘Prelude’, a so-called mini-album of tracks. More than an EP but marginally less than a full album, it certainly whet my appetite for further from the five-piece. I’ve been told their debut album is on the horizon (let’s hope it’ll see the light of day later in 2015), but on Monday, the band will release the EP ‘Remedy’, which will tide us over until we get their debut.

‘Remedy’ is a curious title, isn’t it? Are we talking about a cure of medicinal means, or something less literal or obvious, like Little Boots and her “dancing is my remedy, remedy”? There may only be four songs on offer here, but as a neat little set of songs, they run the gamut of human emotion in love and present different options for resolving relationships. The EP begins with strong single ‘Where I Belong’, which at first sounds vaguely stalkerish until you queue it up a couple times.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIw52v9XXB4[/youtube]

I was quickly got sucked into the mesmerising rhythm and held onto the spare yet somehow sultry guitar and piano notes (placed perfectly, I might add), and then I fully understood where the song was going. The chorus – “I confess it / I wanna see right through / wanna keep you ’til you’re dust and bone / I want to love ’til my heart stops beating / wanna hold you ’til you turn to stone” – indicates the protagonist of this song is, yes, obsessed with the object of his affection, but the overwhelming sense of loving desire overtakes eeriness. We previously featured ‘Medic’ as a Video of the Moment, and as has been described here and elsewhere, there’s a reason why Longfellow has been tipped to be the successor (and I pray the eventual toppler) to stadium kings Coldplay. Driven by piano tremeloes at the start, it continues to build to an anthemic chorus of “we need to work it out, work it out / we all need a little love sometimes”.

‘Chokehold’ is another beauty but its tempo is gentler; its premise is in stark contrast to ‘Where I Belong’, as it chronicles the need to get out of a toxic relationship, and how important it is to let go when a good thing has gone bad. The one oddball on the EP is track three, ‘Fabric’, which incorporates percussive, echoey synths against at times r&b lead vocal for a more mainstream pop effect. It’s not bad but some reason, it’s not entirely believable from these lads (“you’re so cold, you make my temper rise”), so here’s to hoping the debut album as a whole sounds more like the other three tunes. Fingers crossed.

8/10

Longfellow’s new EP ‘Remedy’ is out next Monday, the 20th of April, on Fierce Panda Records. Catch them at Live at Leeds on the 2nd of May and playing a headline show at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen in London on the 5th of May. For past TGTF coverage on Longfellow, head this way.

 

Video of the Moment #1730: Longfellow

 
By on Wednesday, 28th January 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Longfellow have released the new promo for their latest single ‘Medic’, which was released back on the 12th of January. Considering how powerful their live action video for ‘Kiss-Hug-Makeup’ was last spring, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel with an animated one from them. There’s a definite twist at the end of this video that I never saw coming, and for that alone, it’s worth it to check out this video below.

The band have two London shows lined up for February: they’ll be at The Fix night at the Social on Little Portland Street on the 3rd of the month, followed by a headline show all their own on the 26th at the Borderline. For all our previous coverage on Longfellow, head here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKDAsEq4CVU[/youtube]

 

(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Live Gig Video: Longfellow play acoustic versions of ‘Gabrielle’ and ‘Where I Belong’ for Ont’ Sofa

 
By on Thursday, 27th November 2014 at 4:00 pm
 

Longfellow have been a favourite of mine ever since I got wind of them from the fine folks of Fierce Panda. We were so very pleased to hear that the band from London had been given a shout, their second, for SXSW 2015, so you can bet we’ll be catching them live and catching up with the fabulous fivesome in Austin in the new year. Yeehaw! (Sorry, couldn’t resist…)

Er, sorry, back to the matter at hand. The premise of Ont’ Sofa is similar to Sofar Sounds – have a band play acoustically in an intimate setting – except not in front of an audience in someone’s home. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to see Longfellow live, these videos of ‘Gabrielle’ (from the band’s wonderful mini-album ‘Prelude’, released this summer) and new song ‘Where I Belong’ give you a flavour of what beauty to expect. Watch the videos below.

 

Video of the Moment #1654: Longfellow

 
By on Wednesday, 22nd October 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Longfellow are currently in New York City for CMJ this week, but those of us who don’t happen to be in the Big Apple shouldn’t feel too downtrodden. They’ve kindly left behind the gorgeously shot video for ‘Polaroid’, which appears on their mini-album ‘Prelude’ that was released in July on Fierce Panda Records. (You can read my review of ‘Prelude’ here.) The promo, starring actress Victoria Emslie, can be watched below.

And ok, if you happen to be at CMJ (you miserable, lucky devils), you can catch Longfellow at their official CMJ showcase on Friday (the 24th of October) at Coco 66 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at 11 PM. Not to be missed!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6hcUWlFBIY[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Longfellow – Prelude

 
By on Monday, 21st July 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Even though they’re still a relatively new band, I’ve written quite a bit on London five-piece Longfellow already. Having sufficiently impressed me on the strength of early single ‘Siamese Lover’, then in person live in Austin and in conversation at SXSW 2014, I think this group have what it takes to make it.

It seems quite strange in my mind that their current release ‘Prelude’ is being hawked around as a mini-album, as if a full album designation isn’t warranted. While it has only eight tracks and some of these have already seen the light of day (singles ‘Siamese Lover’ and ‘Hug-Kiss-Make Up’), these eight tracks are very good, and although it’s only available digitally as of now, a physical release through their label Fierce Panda will follow the first week of August, just 2 weeks from now.

If you’ve been following Longfellow up to now, their music up to this point has aspired to be majestic indie rock and stadium-filling, which has drawn the band comparisons to their label’s earliest success story, Coldplay. So it is with some surprise that in ‘May the Light’ sees the group calling out to Jesus and breaking out the tambourine to go towards folk. (There is also hints of this in later number ‘Wolf Cry’.) However, that doesn’t last (sorry if that’s your thing, but it’s not my bag). Mini-album opener ‘Polaroid’ is more representative, featuring Ali Hetherington’s winning piano and James Thomas’ guitar lines at the start. Frontman Owen Lloyd’s haunting voice provides an effective counterpoint when virtually alone but melding nicely with the instrumentation in the chorus.

Newer track and album standout ‘Lullaby’ continues this trend. Lloyd’s lyrics as sung in the chorus “stitch me, heal me, help me escape my mortality / bathe me, dress me” weigh heavier than normal for pop music, but you can do nothing but simply appreciate words like these: they indicate the reliance we have for another when we’re in a relationship, and the universality of how our very existence is intertwined with another’s. The bridge of this song shows just how effective their songwriting can be, with just Hetherington’s notes on the ivories and Lloyd’s voice.

The imagery of being washed of sin, or at least the effort to be repentant, is repeated in album closer ‘The Convent’, which begins poignantly, with piano and strings. The song invokes further emotion in the chorus: “And I don’t want to be your heartbeat, I tell you all the time; maybe I’ll sleep tonight / And I don’t want to feel your breathing, pretend you’re not alive; maybe I’ll sleep tonight”. There’s certainly conflict in here, between what is right and wrong, between what feels right and what feels wrong. I have my suspicions on what this song is about, but what’s most important is that we are hearing truly heartwrenching thoughts through the voice of this sweeping song.

‘Lullaby’ and ‘The Convent’ seem to be polar opposites in mood to previous single ‘Siamese Lover’, which just begs for pogoing during the chorus. The words “standing on the edge of the world” seems to indicate there is looming danger and anxiety, but the harmonised emphasis of “don’t lose faith” leaves the listener with optimism. ‘Hug – Kiss – Make Up’, their latest single I reviewed before my last trip to England, rings with similar brightness and now that Longfellow have inked an American label deal with Brooklyn indie Ooh La La Records, with the song’s spectacular bombast, it would be my choice for their debut single here stateside.

Older song ‘Gabrielle’ (promo video at the end of this post) has a memorable melody and rhythm, but even more impressively, it manages to have lyrics that seem on the surface entirely callous with regards to the end of love: “I’m tired of life, I’m always losing / And I don’t want to see her, I just want to see her cry”. In fact are proof that the man that’s singing this to us and telling his story is hurting deeply inside. That’s what I want people take away from this (mini)album: too few musicians these days show us their hearts and make it in this business. Music that stirs true feelings within is not only important but vital to all of us. Buy ‘Prelude’ and prove to the industry just how essential music like this truly is.

9/10

‘Prelude’, the first mini-album from London band Longfellow, is out now digitally, with a physical release to follow on the 4th of August on Fierce Panda Records.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX6woS–zSo[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1520: Longfellow

 
By on Wednesday, 14th May 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Fierce Panda signees Longfellow have finally released the long-awaited video to ‘Hug-Kiss-Makeup’, their new single out next Monday (the 19th of May). (I reviewed the single last month and you can read my words and emotions on it this way.) Filmed in a gorgeous theatre, it’s a part drama, part performance video from the London-based quintet and if you haven’t heard the song, you must. It’s epic with a capital E. Watch the promo video below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROdABTBzYR0[/youtube]

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

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