There’s little edge to A Will Away’s radio-friendly indie-rock. And, while it could have been asinine and insipid, there’s just enough about the gorgeous production and smart arrangements to make ‘Here Again’ an engaging and enjoyable listen. Albeit one that’s rather lightweight.
It really is hard to do justice just how great ‘Here Again’ sounds. ‘Agoraphobia’, for example is simply one of the most gorgeously textured songs you’ll hear all year, overflowing with overlapping vocal lines and a layered arrangement that is so complicated you can get entirely lost in it. Likewise, the driving ‘Crochet’ sounds similarly huge; a two-minute pop song dressed up as a stadium anthem.
Yet, for all this, ‘Here Again’ feels like some clever sleight of hand and a masterclass in misdirection. There’s very few notable lyrics – or even hooks – that will stay with you for 20 minutes after the album has finished. It means ‘Here Again’ feels like an endless saccharine-sweet dessert, fun and enjoyable at the time but a trifle unfulfilling.
It does have its moments of real quality, however. ‘Better Reluctant’ marries driving pop-rock with a handsome production job, a winning hook and smart vocals. It’s the closest ‘Here Again’ has to a standout moment and is a winner from start to finish. Alongside the title track and the sublime ‘Crochet’ it shows A Will Away have a real handle on their sound and direction.
Yet, for people who like their indie-rock to push boundaries – or even just quicken the pulse – ‘Here Again’ is as risk-averse as it gets. For all it’s good points – and there’s no doubting A Will Away are talented and have produced one of the finest-sounding albums of the year so far – but when the end result sounds like a cross between Don Broco and early Maroon 5, shouldn’t we be expecting more?
‘Here Again’ by A Will Away is released on 3rd March on Triple Crown Records.
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Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)