Embers at the Sebright Arms
Not many new bands arrive in London with as much heat or laudation already behind them. With only a handful of released tunes and this being their first London show, it doesn’t seem right that this mysterious young band are so slick and professional. Manchester’s Embers have already been compared to stadium visionaries such as The Verve and Muse, yet they’ve barely played to more than a pub’s worth of Mancunian punters. The comparisons are well founded, but Embers’ childish shortfalls are still plainly visible.
Armed with an arsenal of MIDI controllers and a miniaturised string section (viola and violin), four anxious lads from Manchester took to their capital debut with respectable gusto. In an age of vapid, feeble and ephemeral music events, Embers certainly stand out. Their stadium-ready rock is ideologically rife and aesthetically rich, yet they still succumb to a sort of hipster “Gen 2.0” recycling. In the same way that Mumford-ish stadium folk came about as a response to America’s mid-00s love affair with alt-folk, Embers have clearly studied the epic crescendos of underground Canadian and Icelandic post-rock.
The single being launched, Part of the Echoes, stirred the cramped crowd of near-silent über-hip East Londoners. The tune remains a decent one, evoking the uncharted mid-ground between their blatantly beloved post-rock heroes (Sigur Ros and Thee Silver Mt Zion) and the pulsating thrust of their fellow townsmen Joy Division. However, the soaring guitars and choirs underpinning a simplistic and utterly evocative endless chorus feel somewhat forced in such a tight space. Embers feel as if they’re simply urging to burst out of the basement-like trappings of the Sebright Arms and onto a proper stage where their music can truly take flight.
In any case, there was enough pounding percussion and brooding bass within the heart of these epic minis to awaken the spirit of Ian Curtis, particularly when sung by the towering frontman of George Agan. The post-punk elements grounded the post-rock, keeping Embers from disappearing into beckoning teenage daydreams and made sure they were playing such triumphant music from an earnest place. Embers may well be painting with familiar colours, but they still have the conviction and belief to turn any non-believers around pretty sharpish. With some training, this could be the defining band to bring soaring and symphonic anthems to the small stage – and the big stage is surely next.
Photos: Andrei Grosu
For further information and future events visit Embers’ website here.
Watch the video for Part of the Echoes here: