Musically, “New Renaissance”, is a little new-romantic, however, it stabs with a twist of modernity. It’s new, new-romantic, with elements of post-punk, electronics. Drawing sounds from all of the ‘80s greats, the EP explores different genres and instruments, and then incorporates them into a very solid and defined style. The band is clearly on the same page, and understands what sound it is aiming for. Listening to the songs throughout, my memory quickly flickers here and there, as second long intervals of the music remind of this band and that.
“That melody change reminded me of New Order” and “That guitar tone reminds me of Johnny Marr”, were just examples of my memory flickers.
The band, whether intentionally or not, have done well in doing this. It draws me to a psychological state of comfortable nostalgia, in the sense, that I’m hearing glimpses of bands that I know and like, without The Ascension overtly appearing, and more importantly, sounding unoriginal.
In terms of production, I’m very impressed. With the band’s, and I quote, “DIY ethic”, all recording and producing was their own work. The sound is deep, layered and well orchestrated. Dynamics of the songs are easily heard and very noticeable. I particularly like the use of doubled vocals, usually of octave harmony. It helps fill the track more, and helps the band develop a personal stamp, or ‘sound’.
I found the lyrics very refreshing. Although the actual concepts of the lyrics don’t break any philosophical ground, they are well placed and well written. Most importantly, they avoid the overused subject of, “The one that got away” or “OMG, I wud do anyfingz for U, coz ure my babez and I luv U”. It seems the band actually tackle bigger issues, and deal with more meaningful concepts. This can be epitomised by the simple fact that their Myspace friends list holds George Orwell, Charles Darwin and my personal favourite, Bill Hicks.
The Ascension could have easily sounded more main-stream than they do, however, with simple, but intellectual decisions of melodies, harmonies and instrumentation, something different occurs. I guess that’s where the ‘alternative’ comes into ‘alternative rock’.
Just a final note; if I wasn’t earlier informed, I would have never expected the band to only be a three-piece. The sound is full, dynamic and layered in instrumentation. I’m not sure how the band would work live; whether the same quality of sound could be achieved. If you would like to find out for yourself, then you can go and see them…
Apr 8: The Eagle Buxton, Derbyshire, UNITED KINGDOM – 19:00
May 7: Swan With Two Necks Macclesfield, Cheshire, UNITED KINGDOM – 20:30
May 21: Aldwinians Rugby Club Audenshaw, Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM – 19:00
Jul 8: Bakers Vaults Stockport, GB – 19:00