Bands to Watch #304: Passport to Stockholm

By on Wednesday, 20th August 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Come summertime every year, I will think of my trip in 2010 to Denmark, when I went to cover Roskilde Festival’s 40th anniversary. There is a certain pleasant vibe to Scandinavia – especially during their warmer months, when the days are sunny and long – that I don’t think can really be matched anywhere else in the world. I’m not entirely sure where London-based alt-folk / pop band Passport to Stockholm got their name, but when I listen to their music, I like to think their mission is to assist your mind to escape to a place like the Nordic region, where things are, or at least seem to be, from the viewpoint of this neurotic East Coast American, calmer and more beautiful.

I forget now where I had first heard about them. I do remember going to look for them on Facebook and we all know what fledgling bands’ Facebook pages look like, devoid of much information because they’re just starting out. I liked their page, figuring I’d keep an eye on their page and eventually get around to writing a feature on them when more information was available. That time is now.

I got an email recently from their new PR representation, and while it’s disappointing to me that they’re still unsigned, with proper promotion, I expect this talented foursome to be snapped up quickly by an A&R man in due course. Their debut single to the world, ‘Imperfections’, is unusual enough to set them apart from the rest of the folk / pop pack, but also has all the hallmarks of pop that could break them into the mainstream.

Barny Barnard (vocals) and Tom Piggott have known each other since they were teens, having written songs together since the tender age of 14. While this part of their history sounds pretty similar to many other bands that have now achieved success, this is where things veer off from the usual course. Completing the line-up are percussionist Henri Grimes and most interestingly, cellist Sophie English, who adds an unexpected, dramatic and (dare I say this?) more adult piece to the proceedings. While fiddle and violin aren’t uncommon instruments in artists we love here at TGTF (e.g., Van Susans, Keston Cobblers’ Club, Stornoway), cello is, usually held back for classical affairs only.

And indeed, the lower timbre of cello notes from English are a welcome accompaniment to Barnard’s compelling vocals. I don’t favour the gravely singer/songwriter types (Tom Waits and Bob Dylan come to mind), preferring those like Barnard’s: more melodic, with more richness, more depth. The video, which was released yesterday, is embedded at the end of this post and I’m assuming the message is that this is a band that cannot be reduced to petty fighting, which has otherwise tarnished the reputations of a few hotheads in this business.

The rhythm of ‘Imperfections’ begs to be stomped to as well, suggesting this would go down well in front of a crowd, whether it be in a club like Camden Barfly where they’ll be launching the single on the 16th of September or a much larger crowd at a summer festival. From the recording, it sounds like they’ve come quite some ways from “pumping fresh air into the lungs of the acoustic genre since forming in 2012”, in these post-Mumford and Sons days clogged with a dime a dozen Mumford clones, fresh air is exactly what this industry needs.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao-CYbaM8hc[/youtube]

Tags: , , ,

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required
 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it. If you want a track removed, email us and we'll sort it ASAP.

E-mail us  |  RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us