“After seeing how well received our debut was, and still is received, we can take confidence in the fact that in this day and age, in this modern musical climate, there is barely a reason why it is not possible to control, and release your own music, off your own back. For that reason we take real pride in the fact there is nobody, and nothing, standing in between our music, and our fans. It’s a very exciting time for music, and especially home grown British music, and we feel privileged to be in the position where we can release this new album to the world ourselves.”
The words of a band who know what they want. The words of a band who know how to get it. The words of a band who, on the strength of their self-released free debut album (40,000 downloads and counting at time of the press release I received being written) and this now their sophomore effort, Heavy in the Day, are going to get it.
Beyond the conviction, determination and self-assurance of that opening quote I’ve used, I could ply you with facts and statistics that back up the more-than-likelihood of this four piece making the big league. I won’t, because whilst evidence, they’re not important. What is important though, and the greatest evidence of all, is the talent and the songs.
I will though, very briefly, touch upon these facts and figures. As previously mentioned, the success of that debut to the tune of 40,000 and growing. Then there’s that upon leaving school they started touring relentlessly, in the process of which (after playing with anyone who would have them) got picked for support slots by the likes of The Automatic, Enter Shikari, Against Me, Twin Atlantic, You Me At Six and We Are The Ocean. This all accumulated to a sell out tour of their own earlier this year.
Now, brushing over such information may give this all the air of an overnight success or a flash in the pan. It may even leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth, after don’t we all prefer routing for the underdog? Isn’t fame only worn acceptably by an underdog we got on board with first and got to know? Then, fickle reader, you will pleased to be informed none of that is true and these are no mere lucky chancers.
The band, comprised of Luke Prebble (bass/vocals), Mike Sparks (vocals/guitar), James Pipe (guitar) and Scott Peters (drums), formed back in 2005 while all four members were still in school together. Spending the remainder of their educational years writing the songs would come to make up Thank You, their debut album of 2009. They left school and so began the unwavering determination, commitment and hard work that made those facts and figures possible.
I digressed a little longer than intended there, as I’m sure you’ll agree that was neither very nor brief. So, the real evidence in question being this album, the songs contained within it and the talent spent in making it. Judging by what is on display here, Canterbury are either alchemists or really fond of cocktails. I say this because the album appears to me a melting pot, or cocktail shaker, that Canterbury have taken number of elements, or spirits/juices/whatever they like to drinks, and combined them altogether seamlessly. In such a way even, that whilst you may pick up on those elements, or flavours, they never make themselves more distinct than the final outcome, or taste.
An overly drawn out analogy, but apt. First case in point being the first, and title, track Heavy in the Day. It starts with some slowly building ambience before the main progression and a reverb heavy ‘woah’ introduces the song proper. This might seem like a pretty standard atmospheric opening but when the lead vocal comes in it soon becomes clear that there is more on offer than standard modern alternative fair. The musical progressions and the production lend an almost prog-like tint to the track, and the vocal melody particularly has a reminiscence of something you might hear during a more subdued moment of The Mars Volta’s debut De-Loused in the Comatorium. Add in the sheen of the production, the addition of strings and those ‘woahs’ and the end results comes through somewhere between You Me At Six and The Mars Volta. Though never overly like either.
Second track and an immediately stark contrast. Something Better is all swagger and strut, cocksure to be sure and it oozes the kind of sound and style both The Blackout and Kids in Glass Houses were hoping to achieve on their last albums. Add in some more ‘woahs’ that 30 Second to Mars would be proud of and you’ve got a sure fire single. More Than Know hammers this nail home with a glam rock stomp thrown and an emphasis on quiet/loud dynamics between verse and chorus.
Gloria is the first track to bring in a ballad like feel to proceedings, though it is more of a testing of the ballad water as it very much retains and anthemic drive, bringing to mind their more well-established peers and perhaps even a hint of Paramore. Ready Yet and Calm Down bring back the pace of early tracks with perhaps a little more of an eye for the dancefloor.
A solid album so far. It’s at this half way point though, and onwards, that Heavy in the Day becomes a great album. Wrapped in Rainbows is the first in line for this transition and you’ll see/hear what I mean immediately when you come to reach it. There is a keener sense of musicianship on display here and a more matured songwriting; it rises, it falls, it changes and progresses, it’s intricate. That and it reminds me a little of Tubelord, and I fucking love Tubelord.
If Gloria was the testing the water ballad, on the more youthful and pacey first half of the album, then She’s a Flame is what it was testing the water for on the more grown up second half to the album. It is subtle, tender and not afraid to keep things slow as it gradually builds throughout. Add to that the vocal harmonies and a hell of a chorus, and this goes beyond being a solid ballad but it has an accessibility that gives it crossover appeal. This could get the Snow Patrol crowd on board for lighters held aloft.
Even the rockier tracks on this half of the album have a much more mature feel to them. Saviour being a prime example in that it’s got all the strut and swagger of the first half but this time it’s sexier and confident, not boisterous. The hints of Queens of the Stone Age and Red Hot Chili Peppers don’t half help too.
The best track on the album though? Well that’s easy. It’s Garden Grows. There’s no question about it in my eyes and ears. It has managed to worm its way into my casual singing about the place, whether on a train, in the pub or on my way to work. The guitar intro sounds like The Kooks, but it soon fills out into a deeply dramatic and dense atmosphere that further displays the maturity in their songwriting now. Then there’s that chorus. That fucking chorus.
Sure, you’ve got to pay for the goods this time around, but why should there be a problem with that when the goods are more than good? The band say it best themselves though.
“We are so excited to announce the release of our second album ‘Heavy In The Day’. The album took a while to complete but we’ve come away with something we are so proud of. We definitely pushed ourselves more than ever on this record to make some of our most interesting and different material, we’ve all grown up alot and we think that comes out in the music and especially the lyrics, the songs are more personal this time round but are still about things every single person out there can relate to. The melodies are catchier, harmonies are sweeter and the heavy is heavier.”