Sunday, 21 May 2017

Amber Arcades 'Cannonball EP' (EP Review)

Whilst taking some well-earned time out mid-tour in New York last autumn, Amber Arcades nipped into Strange Weather Studios for a couple of days, enlisting the services of producer Ben Greenberg. The result is the Cannonball EP, a handful of songs, four of them originals, released again on Heavenly Recordings. 

Having discovered the beguiling ethereal indie pop of Amber Arcades, the sobriquet of Dutch chanteuse Annelotte De Graaf supporting Palehound in the UK last year, it’s great to sample some fresh new material, so soon after last year’s cracking debut release ‘Fading Lines’. The band have also recently been back in Yorkshire, returning to perform as part of the Live at Leeds weekend. 

Before we get to the newly penned tunes, there’s the small matter of the lead off track, a terrific reworking of Nick Drakes ‘Which Will’, managing to retain the original’s vulnerability, yet giving the song a shimmering pop makeover, previously absent on the sonic austerity of ‘Pink Moon‘. 

Next up is ‘It Changes’ a humdinger of a number, one-thousand per cent pop with soaring vocal harmonies that get under your skin super-fast, without ever tiring with subsequent listens. 

Things go a little downtempo for the final trio of songs, the lush harmonies on ‘Can’t Say That We Tried’ featuring special guest former Coral lead guitarist Bill Ryder Jones lending his vocal support, managing to tap into the Big Apple vibe as suddenly things are very Velvets sounding. 

Dreamy title track ‘Cannonball’ brings things to a genteel close, complete with a guitar break with a distinctly Caledonian feel…Stuart Adamson would have certainly approved. 

Words - Mike Price

Cannonball ep is out on June 2nd via Heavenly Recordings

1. Which Will
2. It Changes
3. Can’t Say That We Tried
4. Wouldn’t Even Know (featuring Bill Ryder-Jones)
5. Cannonball