By White Belt Yellow Tag
Ahead of their debut full-length, White Belt Yellow Tag unleash 'Always and Echoes' on the unsuspecting rock scene.
White Belt Yellow Tag have an enviable musical pedigree (frontman Justin Lockey is ex-guitarist of Yourcodenameis:Milo, and Tom Bellamy from The Cooper Temple Clause performs drumming duties when the band go out on tour) and the experience shows. 'Always and Echoes' is a self-assured slab of rock that soars off on a new anthemic tangent approximately once every thirty seconds. Whether this sky-scraping high comes in the form of Lockey's glass-shattering high notes; or whether it comes in the guise of a luxurious swirl of breathy backing vocals, 'Always and Echoes' isn't short of heart-string-bothering moments. Anthemic indie-rock with some genuine emotion behind it. Prepare to be moved.
B-side 'Postcards' opens with a simple acoustic clatter that puts the spotlight firmly on Lockey's voice. He steps up to the challenge by performing a perfect balancing act between vocal power, and a charismatic, everyman vibe. After wow-ing you with Lockey's vocals, White Belt Yellow Tag lunge for your heart-strings once again, with a chorus of piano-studded guitars that give 'Always and Echoes' a run for its money in terms of anthemic heights. After such a breath-taking chorus, the verses inevitably feel like White Belt Yellow Tag are merely keeping the ball rolling until they can tumble the listener back into the chorus. But, whenever that killer combo of heady guitars and swooning vocals kicks in, you'll decide it was worth the wait. A good song, made extra special by Lockey's intoxicating falsetto.
The piano-studded jangle of 'You Have No Friends' strikes a more sombre note. Even the slide-guitar manages to sound downhearted, and Lockey switches his usual sweet highs in favour of a fuzzy, brain-deadening drone. This is White Belt Yellow Tag at their most experimental, and it lacks the sure-footedness of the previous two songs. Not quite adventurous enough to be thought-provoking, and not hook-packed enough to be properly enjoyable, this is the EP's weakest moment.
The 'Always and Echoes' EP comes to a close with a remix of 'We All Have Sound' from White Belt Yellow Tag's forthcoming 'Methods' album. When it reaches full speed, 'We All Have Sound (Rhysmix Vs Wahs)' delivers a satisfying, synth-studded crunch. Initially, there are a few too many breaks, which means this song is slow to gain momentum, but once you get past the midway point, it really puts its pedal to the metal.
This EP is a confident, mature statement of intent that'll have you convinced we'll be hearing a lot more from White Belt Yellow Tag in 2010. Put the album release date in your diary.