Album Review: Augustines – Augustines

By on Wednesday, 5th February 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Augustines album coverAfter shedding the superfluous first two words “We Are” from their previous moniker, Augustines – lead singer and guitarist Billy McCarthy, multi-instrumentalist Eric Sanderson and drummer Rob Allen – reconvened after the success of their 2011 debut album to do something a little different. ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships’ yielded indie smash ‘Chapel Song’; this and the LP was borne out of the pain experienced by the unfortunate passing of McCarthy’s brother and mother. Now with their new name, which incidentally was their name previous to We Are Augustines (that’s confusing), they set forth with a new set of 12 songs, also called ‘Augustines’.

The album begins with the bare ‘Intro (I Touch Imaginary Hands)’, but the first real song on ‘Augustines’ is track 2, the U2-sey ‘Cruel City’ (video below). Unlike the aforementioned ‘Chapel Song’, this one, along with previously revealed massive-sounding single ‘Nothing to Lose But Your Head’, have the sweeping, stadium anthemic quality that bands like U2, Coldplay and Keane seemed to have monopolised over the last decade. While this may seem strange on the surface, as McCarthy has a gravelly marmite voice, Chris Martin’s voice isn’t that great either, and besides, those other three bands are in between things, so if there was a time for the Brooklyn band to make a go for it, now would be the time. “This was us moving on together,” says Allen. “It was wonderful to come through the other end and record a new record. It was a huge accomplishment and it looks towards a brighter future for us all.” And the overall brighter, richer sound compared to their debut agrees with this. Just how much input did co-producer Peter Katis have in all of this? As you listen further to the album, one begins to wonder.

The combination of a relentless drummed rhythm, enjoyable enough guitars, McCarthy’s voice and either a choir or backing vocals from his bandmates seem to be the formula on ‘Augustines’. In ‘Walkabout’ and ‘The Avenue’, the band stretch a bit to include piano ala the Killers; an appealing guitar intro for ‘Don’t You Look Back’ seems to portend its soon to follow Springsteen leanings. Far more pleasurable is ‘This Ain’t Me’, which sounds more honest and true to the band’s roots, and as is McCarthy’s scream to usher in closing track ‘Hold Onto Anything’.

While the overall consistency and good quality of tracks across much of this album is great news, the endeavour to sound more radio-friendly and therefore less inventive (or at least less varied) may leave ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships’ fans disappointed. However, if you like this new direction Augustines have gone in – and if yes, I have a feeling you will have a lot of company in this – then you probably don’t need much persuading to buy this record.

6.5/10

The self-titled second album from the newly reappointed Brooklyn band Augustines is out now on Caroline Records.

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[…] band Augustines just released their second and self-titled album last week. (I reviewed it here.) To explain their creative process and the making of the new album, they’ve released this […]

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