Saturday, 10 December 2011 00:00


Richter Collective / Sargent House

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Originally released in Ireland and Europe earlier this year, Gangs, the second release from the honest, hard working Northern Irish post rock band And So I Watch You From Afar recently received a much deserved North American gong through Sargent House taking the then quartet's music to a much wider audience. Following up their heavy sounding self titled debut with an equally muscular album, albeit with more melodic sensibility, the individual virtuosity from the band is well and truly on display here as Roy Friers and the now departed Tony Wright throw out inventive twin guitar attacks ably assisted by a tight as a drum rhythm section of Johnathon Adger (bass) and Chris Wee (drums). None of the eight tracks rest on their laurels at any time as the arrangements are just as meticulous as the technical aspects of their music. Gangs marks a departure of sorts sonically and personnel wise for the band and is the last album with founding guitarist Tony Wright who recently left just before their just completed marathon tour of Europe. The fact that the band completed that tour and were as impressive as ever with touring guitarist Niall Kennedy (ex Panama Kings), if their Berlin show was any indication, not missing a beat, suggests that despite Wright's decision And So I Watch You From Afar will continue to go from strength to strength.

There is a real organic feel to And So I Watch You From Afar, a band that has either written, recorded and toured virtually incessantly since their inception in 2006, a possible reason why Wright left. The band had spent, apart from the odd few days here and there in each other's pockets, practising, refining and mastering their approach and sound. Throughout it all, a DIY aethestic has ensued more out of necessity than choice. It has meant that the band has done it tough in many ways, often organising their own gigs and doing their own promotion. The lack of a team of middle men has meant that the band are much closer to their loyal fan base than most and actually enjoy interacting with them as evidenced by their social media activities. Check out their exhaustive facebook updates here. But it wasn't all smooth sailing during the gestation period for Gangs. The band had written 25 tracks which they intended to whittle down to 10 but after much conjecture decided to scrap the entire set. The ensuing few weeks saw this collection of tracks written at frenetic pace and rather than giving off the impression of things being rushed, the eight tracks are impressively focused and taut. Despite the difficulties, the strength of relationships in general comes through loud and clear on Gangs as the band constantly push the limits of their own abilities, pulling it off every time and for their fans leave nothing in the proverbial locker room - starting the writing process from scratch says so much about what they are willing to do to put out music they are comfortable with. 

Intentions are set immediately with military like stealth of 'BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION', a tune as big as its name looks and sounds as bass and drums chug away underneath alongside an off-kilter yet disciplined duel guitar riff. 'Gang (starting never stopping)' starts of at a frenetic pace and is probably the fastest thing the band have ever done. It contains a fat riff in its mid section that focuses the song and takes things back a notch. 'Search:Party:Animal' starts in gritty fashion with a spacey like leading riff underpinned by circular rhythms before a foreboding bassline precedes a explosive cacophony of sound. There's little doubt that metal features heavily as an influence in the bands DNA and unlike other post rock bands where the creation of atmosphere is the main drive, AIWYFA rely more on riffs and melody. That's not to say they don't create atmospherics in their music as '7 Billion People All Alive At Once' attests, an almost anthem like track with shout out vocals written in the bands early years. 'Think:Breathe:Destroy' rests on a twin guitar off riff before descending into an apoclayptic frenzy. Probably the most impressive track on the record is the two part 'Homes - Go Parlour KA-6 To...' and Homes - Samara To Belfast'. The first part of the track starts off with a slow melodic bent with an almost calypso pop like beat which is further evidence of the band's willingness to explore new horizons. The second half delves into prog-rock stylings at times and consists of a mixture of lush sonic soundscapes and angular riffs which combine beauty in its most quiet moments with a harsh edge in its loudest. The tracks outro is the best thing the band has done and even contains a slight nod to electronic music.

Sure, there's little doubt that ASIWYFA's sound is not new. Familiar elements that have been incorporated by Mogwai, Boris, Russian Circles, Explosions In The Sky, This Will Destroy You, the list goes on, can be found here. But what sets this band apart is its absolutely genuine approach to all aspects of its work, including the musically indirect, and its willingness to step out of traditional post rock forms. From composition, technical detail and constant personal contact with its fan base, there is an acute honesty in what they do that is demonstrable in every note, every beat on both Gangs and their other releases. Gangs for its part puts forward a more cohesive blueprint where every riff, every melody fits together as a whole. This is all the more impressive as the band has a tendency to try and weave in a number of different rock genres from progressive and math rock, obvious nods to metal as well as some post hardcore elements. ASIWYFA's trajectory from here is hard to predict given their current circumstances but there's little doubt in Gangs that they have more than whetted the appetite of old and new fans alike that will be hanging for what comes next from the hard working trio.

James Stocker - December 10, 2011.



And So I Watch You From Afar (NIR)
From the album, 'Gangs', Richter Collective/Sargent House

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Live at Start Together Studios, Belfast for Bandwidth Sessions

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April 15, 2014


Hard Boiled, Soft Boiled

Buzz Records

Odonis Odonis Official Site

Buy here

1. Tension
2. Are We Friends
3. Order In The Court
4. New Obsession
5. Breathing Hard
6. Mr Smith
7. Release
8. Angus Mountain
9. Office Sluts
10. Highnote
11. Transmission From The Moon
12. Alexa Wait

April 15, 2014


Under Color Of Official Right

Hardly Art

Protomartyr Facebook

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1. Maidenhead
2. Ain't So Simple
3. Want Remover
4. Trust Me Billy
5. Pagans
6. What The Wall Said
7. Tarpeian Rock
8. Bad Advice
9. Son Of Dis
10. Scum, Rise!
11. I Stare At Floors
12. Come & See
13. Violent
14. I'll Take That Applause

April 1, 2014




Future Islands Official Site

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1. Seasons (Wating On You)
2. Spirit
3. Sun In the Morning
4. Doves
5. Back In The Tall Grass
6. A Song For Our Grandfathers
7. Light House
8. Like The Moon
9. Fall From Grace
10. A Dream Of You And Me


March 25, 2014


Lost In The Dream

Secretly Canadian

The War On Drugs Official Site

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1. Under The Pressure
2. Red Eyes
3. Suffering
4. An Ocean In Between The Waves
5. Disappearing
6. Eyes To The Wind
7. The Haunting Idle
8. Burning
9. Lost In The Dream
10. In Reverse


March 18, 2014




Real Estate Official Site

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1. Had To Hear
2. Past Lives
3. Talking Backwards
4. April's Song
5. The Bend
6. Crime
7. Primitive
8. How Might I Live
9. Horizon
10. Navigator


March 11, 2014


Present Tense


Wild Beasts Official Site

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1. Wanderlust
2. Nature Boy
3. Mecca
4. Sweet Spot
5. Daughters
6. A Pregnant Pause
7. A Simple Beautiful Truth
8. A Dog's Life
9. Past Perfect
10. New Life
11. Palace


March 4, 2014


Burn Your Fire For No Witness


Angel Olsen Official Site

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1. Unfucktheworld
2. Forgiven/Forgotten
3. Hi-Five
4. White Fire
5. High & Wild
6. Lights Out
7. Stars
8. Iota
9. Dance  Slow Decades
10. Enemy
11. Windows


February 25, 2014



Caldo Verde

Sun Kil Moon Official Site

Buy here (CD Only - no vinyl release)

1. Carissa
2. I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love
3. Truck Driver
4. Dogs
5. Pray For Newtown
6. Jim Wise
7. I Love My Dad
8. I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same
9. Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes
10. Micheline
11. Ben's My Friend


February 18, 2014


Three Love Songs

Orchid Tapes

Ricky Eat Acid Facebook

Buy limited edition vinyl here

Download free digital version here

1. There Is Only You In The Light & Nothing Else
2. Driving Alone Past Roadwork At Night
3. Inside My House; Some Place I Keep Dreaming About
4. Big Man's Last Trip Outside
5. In Rural Virginia; Watching Glowing Lights Crawl From The Dark Corners Of The Room
6. Inside Your House; It Will Swallow Us Too
7. It Will Draw Me Over To It Like It Always Does
8. In My Dreams We're Almost Touching
9. God Puts Us All In The Swimming Pool
10. Outside Your House; The Lights Went Out & There Was Nothing
11. I Can Hear The Heart Breaking As One
12. Starting Over


February 11, 2014



We Were Never Being Boring

Be Forest Facebook

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1. Totem
2. Captured Heart
3. Lost Boy
4. Ghost Dance
5. Airwaves
6. Totem II
7. Colours
8. Sparkle
9. Hideaway


February 4, 2014


The Age Of Fracture

Tough Love Records

Cymbals Facebook

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1. Winter '98
2. The Natural World
3. You Are
4. Empty Space
5. The 5%
6. The Fracture Of Age
7. Like An Animal
8. Erosion
9. This City
10. The End
11. Call Me




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1. Beautiful Criminal
2. Psychic Trauma
Cloud Nothings (USA)
3. Seasons (Waiting On You)
Future Islands (USA)
4. No Romance
Tirzah (ENG)
5. Copper Thief
Case Conrad (SWE)
6. Interference Fits
Perfect Pussy (USA)
7. The Space Between Us
+/- (USA)
8. Battles
9. Come & See
Protomartyr (USA)
10. Carmine
Cloud Boat (ENG)





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