Two EP releases and countless tours have seen Tall Ships reach the point where they almost HAD to record a full length album. EP’s are one thing, impressing people with fifteen minutes of music, but a full length, keeping people’s attention for forty minutes and beyond is a big task for any band regardless of their previous output. The fruit of their labour, Everything Touching, is out on October 8th but having been less than impressed with the singles it’s spawned so far, will it reach the height of success that Tall Ships have achieved from their EP releases or will the band be destined to disappear beyond the first big hurdle?
The singles that I was so hard on, T=0 and especially latest track Gallop fit perfectly on this record. That isn’t to say that the rest of the album is as poor as I initially thought the singles were, but more that when put in a single context, they sounded like a huge departure from the bands previous math-pop-indie sound. Here their almost rock anthem sensibilities work as highs alongside what you would expect from Tall Ships given their career so far. The rousing Gallop, a single that is already having heavy radio play is a clear attempt at a festival favourite. It’s upbeat, drum heavy and loud but in true Tall Ships fashion if you pull beneath the surface you’ll find that it is perhaps one of the more contemplative tracks lyrically on the album about the process of coping with getting old. It is this depth to the band that makes them, to me at least, one of the most interesting acts to pop up in the UK recently. Tracks like Idolatry, Books and Ode To Ancestors each have their own take on what we consider to be the quintessential Tall Ships sound; soft sections, often orchestrated and with breathy vocals leaping into bright effect heavy guitar noise. Books itself, despite being an old track, sounds renewed, grandiosely backed with a big overblown orchestra that anywhere else on this album would sound over the top, yet here it makes Books one of the songs to listen out for. Then there are tracks like Oscar with its jaunty bass guitar packed indie melody which will no doubt help the band establish themselves with the NME faithful.
Fifteen minutes of listening to a Tall Ships EP and I was hooked, the concern here was always whether they could drag that out over a forty minute album and the answer is yes. There isn’t one point during Everything Touching that I’m thinking “when will this end?” nor are there any fillers that deserve to be skipped. Don’t let this mislead you though, this album isn’t perfect, this isn’t going to be that debut that is so impossible to surpass that it breaks a band. There are sections of this album where you can truly say that the band have hit something brilliant but these are often dispersed with these typical indie NME moments that the band have picked up as they’ve obviously tried to become more immediate. However with songs as crowd friendly as Gallop entwined with the songs us old fans know and love, you know that Tall Ships are only going to get that little bit more popular and hopefully with that they are will only get better. For now Everything Touching is a fantastic listen, and a great place to start on what will hopefully be a glittering career.
4 / 5