This four piece from Leeds have got something just a little bit special – originality. It’s something that’s handed out by critics like autumn leaves, but real, true and interesting originality is actually as rare as finding a pigeon in a hole.
Film‘s music is an eccentric blend of folk and theatrical balladry, but it’s Joe Newman’s voice that strikes you as it dances over it. The vocals walk a difficult tightrope, which find the safety net if they fall the right side, should you consider them brilliantly styled and original. However, if you feel like they fall the other side to the hard floor, they have the danger of sounding comedic, like Jack Black, or the King’s court jester. It’s dangerous, but in all honesty it’s won us over, especially when you consider the lyrics, which play around lightly, regularly pulling at the heart strings.
We’re not suggesting they’re a ‘marmite band’ – far from it – as there’s a lot to like with plenty of melodic magic folded neatly into each song. Guitars sparkle and percussive beats rattle, but they never punctuate the foreground, leaving the voices to tell the story, as they collect harmonically like a flock of birds before shattering apart into delicate, beautiful pieces. It’s like a menacing fairytale that wraps up in a warm ending, always leaving you feeling like you’ve had a memorable experience.
In a year that watched the likes of Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling sell at mainstream levels, it’s not difficult to imagine this lot breaking through, but because it’s the differences – the originality – that makes it interesting, it’s harder to see if the wider public will adopt it en masse. We suggest it is precisely this that makes it so enticing though, so take it to your heart and we can all keep it as our private, enjoyable secret.
Their off-kilter and unique style is best shown in the recently released ‘Matilda‘, which finds them explaining how the grenade that’s blown up at the end of the 1994 Luc Besson film, Leon, is “from Matilda“. A dark and formidable moment that has love at it’s centre, which is precisely how their music could be described.
Another excellent track, Breezeblocks, again mixes up contemporary themes, over a tapped, broken beat that works well when mixing this tale of love with a tinge of lo-fi hip hop and their alternative folk. It’s a coiled spring of a tune that speaks of a romance that’s walking out of the door. It’s not originality in the sense that it will spawn a new genre or a new direction in music, as their sound is entirely theirs to keep, but it successfully sounds like nothing that’s gone before. This time originality has been pulled like a rabbit from the hat and this critic is only too happy to applaud. (MB)
FILMS – BREEZEBLOCKS
FILMS – MATILDA