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Review: The Reads’ Album Launch Show

by Ben Davis on 6 April, 2011 | 0 comments

The Reads have been a hard working and reliable mainstay of the North Wales and North West England unsigned music scene for a good few years now, and with the release of their debut album, ‘Stories From The Border’, have shown they have the tunes to match their work ethic.

Having lived with the record for a few weeks and fallen for the perfect blend of subtle electronics, elegant orchestral arrangements and pure indie guitars, I was desperate to see how the new sound translated to the official album launch showcase event, or live show as it is also known. Although not for a bit longer as the start was delayed due to the length of the queue outside and we heard later that people had to be turned away, so anticipation fills the air.

Album opener, “Good Omens”, also opens the evening and sets the scene, making up for what it loses in clarity from the record with a raw edge in the live setting. Renowned for the professionalism of their performance, they deliver like the hug from the person you love the most. “Orange Days” and “Galaxy Egg” follow, building both the atmosphere and fans alike in the sold out venue.

The first of the standout tracks of the night is the lead single from the album, and one which this reviewer has taken longer to love than any other, but “Broken Backs” is a superb live track, even without the horn break that makes a wonderfully unexpected appearance on the album. The track is anthemic at the very least and utterly absorbing as it peaks. With the pace somewhat truckin’ on, “The Soil Life” and “Avalon” come next and bring the first half to an end, with an even better second half to come.

For me, there is only one thing I want to experience at a live show, energy. I don’t mean jumping off amps and head banging, but the energy from the music, the intensity of the performance and the sincerity of the musicians to deliver the personal emotion they poured into the creation of each and every note and lyric. On “AMB”, dedicated to a friend lost along their journey to here, The Reads perform with a sense of loss, purpose and celebration of a dearly missed soul, and as emotional as every note is played, there is an overwhelming energy that just draws you in.

Following is the other two thirds of the show standout tracks. “Chunky Truffle” is the best titled song since, well ever really, and then “Nothing Bound” brings the main set to a triumphant close with the exception of the obligatory encore, pre-approved by the audience. “Chunky Truffle” is possibly the most instant song on the album and the simply beautiful vocal journey translates to the live arena better than any other. Until “Nothing Bound” brings every element of the show that has made each song unique and engaging, into one. It is a song whose destiny could be to soundtrack every highlight package on TV over the next 12 months, or it could just remain our little secret bundle of euphoria. The epic “12 Lines of Life” eventually brings the show to a close, after a deliberate false start. Culminating in a previously unseen barrage of intensity and fierce musicianship, it is another unexpected but triumphant moment.

If there are any complaints, it is the lack of any live strings or horns, which on record pierce the songs with a natural balance to the electronic precision that introduces much of the record. The band themselves connected well with the crowd due largely to the strong fan base who turned up and it will be interesting to see how easily they can bridge the gap to larger and less familiar crowds in future.

The Reads are a really talented, honest and passionate gang who could remain a little secret or they could just get that break and capture the moment and heart of a much greater audience. They have the album and are only a few more sets of hands away from truly creating the live experience to match it, but in the meantime they are still one of the best unsigned bands in the country, as I am sure the impending album reviews over the next few months will confirm.

Review and photos by Daniel PJ
www.danielpj.com

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Ben Davis

Email: ben@wrexhammusic.co.uk

Ben is the founder and main writer for wrexhammusic.co.uk.
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