Release Date: Mar 19, 2013
Record label: Sargent House
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Have you ever felt pure joy? Perhaps you were running, naked and free in a glorious field surrounded by sunshine and lollipops. Maybe you were blissfully asleep, your slumber full of smiles as your dreams, for a fleeting moment, are as good as reality. Whatever your definition of delirious happiness, All Hail Bright Futures is full of that same sense of rapturous joy in abundance.
It’s almost as if they made a punk record. And So I Watch You From Afar has always been a band making its own album—the technical, heady, quirky one—and tuning it up again, but All Hail Bright Futures is only a formal restatement. Everything else is done to the side; these bumpy, belching songs, harkening back to Dananananaykroyd’s physics-defying sense of hardcore tribute, every miffing guitar riff used to usher in a scuzzier chorus.
And So I Watch You From Afar could easily have been forgiven for making an utterly depressing album given their recent history. Guitarist Tony Wright left the band a year and a half ago which would have been enough for most bands to crumble. Then to add further injury, the band’s original label Richter Collective gave up the ghost. Fortunately the band was picked up by Sargent House and recruited Niall Kennedy into the fold, but for a while, the future of the band looked pretty uncertain.
The word-salad title of “Big Thinks Do Remarkable” may not make any sense, but as a piece of music it says everything about All Hail Bright Futures, the third LP by math rockers And So I Watch You From Afar. After the brief overture “Eunoia”, zippy, high-pitched guitar runs slap the listener in the face, leaving bruises of exuberance behind. The song then later concludes with the four band members chanting in unison, “THE SUN! THE SUN! IS IN OUR EYES!” And So I Watch You From Afar, despite the To Catch a Predator echoes their name gives off, has always been a jovial group.
Set quirkiness to kill. Clutter with unnecessary gang vocals, hand claps, steel drums, bird song and spoken, single syllable repetitions. Disregard the tight, bombastic song-writing of prior releases in favour of an ineffectual attempt at soundscaping. Scupper all emotional resonance with excessive zaniness and self-indulgent experimentation.
A ridiculously optimistic and happy third album from the Belfast band. Mike Haydock 2013. What are And So I Watch You From Afar up to? Haven’t they seen the news recently? The world’s gone wrong: massive global debt, massive unemployment and B*Witched are reforming. Misery. Everywhere..
Three albums in, no-one can deny the experimental nature of Belfast four-piece And So I Watch You From Afar. Their style, instrumental math-rock that puts its weight on catching the ear of the listener through complex new sounds, is a risky one that hasn’t afforded the band much mainstream radio play. ASIWYFA’s style is still singular and exciting, but unfortunately ‘All Hail Bright Futures’ is unlikely to attract any new listeners to the band.