Album Review: New Desert Blues – Devil’s Rope EP

By on Tuesday, 21st January 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

The difficulty with New Desert Blues I’m facing is how five boys, with such youth about them, are able to weave such mesmerising tapestries through their songs. At their age, I was firmly focussed on exploits of chasing girls and seeing how many alcopops I could pilfer before my parents found out. However, at such young ages they’re already showing a maturity far beyond their years.

On their debut EP ‘Devil’s Rope’, we’re introduced to’ Zachary’, ‘Matthew’, ‘Christoph’ and ‘Eli’, four men I’m delighted to welcome into my life, along with their finely-woven stories of affliction and woe. If you’re lost, allow me to clarify: New Desert Blues name all of their songs with boys’ names. Why though? Well, after facing a bombardment of questions on the issue, the boys admitted the songs are named after characters in a story, in a world within which these stories intertwine. On their site they describe it as “creating the soundtrack to films yet to be written, each song a different tale named after the main characters and protagonists”.

This goes some way to showing the immense emphasis put by the band, on the process of creating a deep, spectacularly visual story. It’s a process in which the Hampshire-based five-piece succeed in wholeheartedly throughout the debut EP. The poppiest, most easily accesisble offering on the four-song EP is served up through opener ‘Zachary’, the second part of what began in ‘Adam’, which I reviewed last summer. In its video, stunningly shot and edited by the band themselves, we follow our wounded centrepoint stagger through the desert. Effectively, that’s what the song is about too: a struggle to move on, brought by the band by vessel their trademark five-piece harmonies, led by the soaring tones of James Cullen and underpinned by a powerful Coldplay-esque guitar twang.

‘Devil’s Rope’ transports you from the dry, dank setting in which the record was recorded in Britain, all the way to the loneliest stretch of American desert you can picture, while holding your hand as you stagger through a ghost town in New Mexico where these four characters are mourning their shattered, broken lives. ‘Matthew’ is an adventure through the Wild West, with Cullen almost screaming, “this is hallowed ground, my friend”, while ‘Christoph’ (video at the bottom of this post) conjures up images of a bank in the Old West with its mournful tale of a rogue being robbed by a reluctant scoundrel taking to crime as almost a form of escapism.

All these stories, these tales of woe and almost faux-misery are all played out in ‘Devil’s Rope’, brilliantly captured through Cullen’s warm, gripping lyrics. It’s no wonder ‘Zachary’ has seen big hitters Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens come sniffing around the deserted saloons of the old West for New Desert Blues. Through four songs, they’ve encapsulated images of majesty, of trauma on a scale that somehow feels exorbitant epic, without sounding pompous or over-egged.

In about 13 minutes, ‘Devils Rope’ does what many indie albums will fail to do in an hour. It transports you to an different time, a new setting, and leaves you thoroughly stricken with awe at the end.

9/10

‘Devil’s Rope’, the debut EP from New Desert Blues, will be released next Monday (the 20th of January) on their own label Whiteley Records.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XOZ1PaRsy8[/youtube]

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10 Responses

12:01 pm
21st January 2014

New post: Album Review: New Desert Blues @newdesertblues’ ‘Devil’s Rope’ EP, out 20/1 on the band’s Whiteley Records: http://t.co/hjocPFn4iF

12:03 pm
21st January 2014

RT @tgtf: New post: Album Review: New Desert Blues @newdesertblues’ ‘Devil’s Rope’ EP, out 20/1 on the band’s Whiteley Records: http://t.co…

12:06 pm
21st January 2014

RT @tgtf: New post: Album Review: New Desert Blues @newdesertblues’ ‘Devil’s Rope’ EP, out 20/1 on the band’s Whiteley Records: http://t.co…

12:12 pm
21st January 2014

RT @tgtf: New post: Album Review: New Desert Blues @newdesertblues’ ‘Devil’s Rope’ EP, out 20/1 on the band’s Whiteley Records: http://t.co…

12:31 pm
21st January 2014

RT @tgtf: New post: Album Review: New Desert Blues @newdesertblues’ ‘Devil’s Rope’ EP, out 20/1 on the band’s Whiteley Records: http://t.co…

12:56 pm
21st January 2014

My words on @newdesertblues debut EP, ‘Devils Rope’. Best record of 2014 so far, IMO. http://t.co/0yKljSzI69 via @tgtf

1:27 pm
21st January 2014

RT @JohnFernandez1: My words on @newdesertblues debut EP, ‘Devils Rope’. Best record of 2014 so far, IMO. http://t.co/0yKljSzI69 via @tgtf

4:54 pm
21st January 2014

RT @JohnFernandez1: My words on @newdesertblues debut EP, ‘Devils Rope’. Best record of 2014 so far, IMO. http://t.co/0yKljSzI69 via @tgtf

6:15 pm
21st January 2014

RT @JohnFernandez1: My words on @newdesertblues debut EP, ‘Devils Rope’. Best record of 2014 so far, IMO. http://t.co/0yKljSzI69 via @tgtf

6:29 pm
21st January 2014

RT @JohnFernandez1: My words on @newdesertblues debut EP, ‘Devils Rope’. Best record of 2014 so far, IMO. http://t.co/0yKljSzI69 via @tgtf

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