Review Summary: Dundee Three Piece, AVAST! show great signs of the ever improving British music scene in this wonderfully charming debut.
Scotland's music scene is an interesting one. Much like Canada's obvious attempts and cultural differences to the majority of it's south of the boarder cousins in America, Scotland, generally disenfranchised and uninterested in what England has to offer, comes completely into it's own and offers some really stunning, unhinged music.
The most recent and undeniably most successful example of this is, Biffy Clyro, hailing from the small town of Ayr on the West Coast, they went from a Sunny Day Real Estate tribute-act, into their own, totally exciting almost These Arms Are Snakes-ish post hardcore, and recently went 'major' and have prowled into the mainstream, (ironically sounding their most British now, on their 4th and most commercially accepted album).
So, Similarly we have AVAST! from a slightly bigger town on the East Coast (Dundee) who also on their debut record have taken major influences from the Midwest Emo scene. The difference, however, is that, with the help of a wonderful production job (which certainly has, the guitar tones are truly beautiful and cutting on this record) have created a much more original and instantly likeable affair. As is the current trend set by incredible acts like Chicago's Maps and Atlases, or the closer to home Meet Me in St. Louis (although not that much, hailing from Guildford, which is as about as South as you can go) the currently genuinely exciting movement in music is the bringing together of the technicalities of Post-Hardcore, the general atmosphere and song writing of Emo, and the wonderfully charming melodies of a good indie-pop song.
And this, undoubtedly, is where AVAST! come in with 'Faultlines'. They explain on their myspace that this record is in fact a documentation of their 2 years of a band, some songs here being made in 2005. However, this is no issue, because this is such a consistent and flowing record that any ageing is seamless, and even now in 2007, with their "proper" (it had been released before but only through the band and it's indie label Flagship Audio) release, these songs remain really fresh and endearing.
What's great about this record too is it's energy. Just opener 'Faultlines' is enough to get you excited about this band and record with it's jaw-droppingly fast yet tight, tom-heavy drumming pattern, distained guitar chords, and simply likeable lyrics 'As a child/I was awkward/grow-ing up'
with a wonderfully charming vocal delivery from Andrew. The rest of the record may not be as fast paced, or as immediate, but the wonderful examples of subtly written melody and songwriting on such songs as 'Koribuki' or the aggressive 'Ahab' are truly something else.
Plus, there's the stunning use of instruments, which are technical, but not overwhelming, and show every member (essential really, for a three-piece) performing at their best. The guitars, although no way near as technical as say, Maps and Atlases, give enough variation to really flicker through a range of sounds appropriate to each song, with some wonderful arpeggios dropped in as well as lines which slide beautifully up and down the next; truly inspired writing, particularly featured on Instrumental closer 'Coelacanth'.
This is by no means perfect, and there are times where you feel AVAST! could do with a touch more variation, but for a debut record this is very impressive. It's teaming with energy and emotion but manages to withhold itself from going too over the top. Personally, I can't wait to see what this band does next, but for now, make sure you pick up this fantastic record.
You can hear Avast! and buy 'Faultlines' of their myspace; http://www.myspace.com/avastuk