The Autumn Stones – Escapists (2015)

“But this is our day…”

The Autumn Stones: four lads who love their 80s post-punk pop music. Four lads with a secret weapon. A saxophone. With so much music indebted to the music of the past it’s vital to have a weapon in your armoury to make you stand out from the crowd and friends, wait til you hear the sax on this sucker!

autumn stones

‘Time Is A River’ launches the album Escapists with the fizzing vitality of The Saints who whipped together the impetuous punk energy of youth with refined rhythm and blues boogie licks. Or does that scratching guitar remind me of The Only Ones? Or does the saucy brass bring me to The Numbers Band? Gah! Hell, let’s just say that this sounds like The Autumn Stones! Sorted! Listen to the chorus, it’s super sweet!

‘Endless War’ simmers as if a Suede B-side is being slow cooked. Ciaran Megahey’s vocals breathily detached, Ciaran swoons, vaporous.

‘End Of Faith’ changes tones; Black Angels stomp, ringing guitars and gloopy bass. Gary Butler’s sax saunters through the gaps. My word, Ciaran sounds like Morrissey at 01:20! With stars in their eyes, the song ascends ominously; jamming, spreading over 6 minutes. Each sax coda offering new peaks…

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‘In with the Out Crowd’ opening guitars verge perilously close to a bland indie number that they play in clubs after ‘First Of The Gang To Die’ but settles instead for resembling a jaunty sitcom theme tune. A good one, mind. A jostling ditty that brings proceedings to a sparkling finish.

‘Sweet Libertine’, don’t worry, no sweaty, Pete Docherty here with his sausage-y skin! This is the song where The Autumn Stones get best use of their Orange Club Fan Club membership cards. You can practically see the knitted sweaters. There’s a slight flavour of the kind of 60s pop songs you’re parents listen to. Sunny side up, please.

‘Spirit Shadows’ surges along on racetrack guitars with Ciaran’s short, snappy vocals nipping in between like a bicycle courier in busy traffic. Careful pandemonium.

‘Ooh La La’ is where the saxophone finally brings The Autumn Stones a touch of Morphine’s sad twilight elegies before putting on their best impression of The Smiths doing a lounge act.

Can I raise a quibble though? We’re friends, right? The album does lose a little momentum in the second half, the restless energy of the first half dissipates as the second half goes a little OTT on the Orange Juice / Smiths worship.

‘Dark Age’ however, snaps focus right back by closes the album with the bass right upfront, adds a grand sense of striking post-punk drama blended with a breathless, invigorating chorus.

There is a deliciously relaxed quality to the music, even when the songs are cookin’ they clip along smoother than David Niven at a cocktail party.

The saxophone is just right in the music, adds flavour and soul, yet it’s never overpowering to the point where you could panic and believe you’re listening to jazz *shudder*.

Autumn Stones know when to party, when to dance and when to chill with something cold and deeply intoxicating.

But this is their day…


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