Friday 17 January 2014

Augustines - Augustines

Album review by

Let's not beat about the bush; you don't have to search for very long to find a band who specialise in blue-collar-style US alt-rock at the moment, they're everywhere. Unless just anything that fits the bill will be enough to satisfy you then you might need to scavenge the music world a little more to find something that truly impresses in this particular market, and you probably know the names of a few reliable bands. Naturally, Springsteen is the touchstone that so many look to, and it's fitting that he has a new album out this week that looks likely to land straight at the top of the charts. We won't run through the other disciples of The Boss because you know who they are, but with their new self-titled album, Augustines have just earned themselves a spot at the top table.

True, they have a big following already and have quickly established themselves in their few years together, but their latest effort should cement their status and provide you with plenty of chest-beating, sing-until-your-throat-is-raw anthems for underdogs, dreamers and those who simply want to get lost in some powerful and genuinely heartfelt music. What do we pick as the stand-outs? Well that depends what you're after. They do understated very well, and this shows the diversity of the band and the fact that they're not tying themselves to one particular formula. See 'Intro (I Touch Imaginary Hands)', the piano ballad (in a good way) that is 'Walkabout' and is flooded with simple and evocative emotion before gradually growing in stature to become a grand statement before ending as it began, also 'The Avenue' also opts for a slower, piano-led dynamic, and 'This Ain't Me' tones things down just a notch, as does the still majestic 'Highway 1 Interlude'.

But what about the songs that will have you screaming along at the top of your voice at festivals when these guys are playing to the enormous crowds that they will soon command if they keep this consistency up? Well, 'Cruel City' contains some emotive "oohh-oh-ohs" that would make Arcade Fire proud; 'Nothing To Lose But Your Head' is enormous and will snare you upon first listen - this is a band on top of their game, make no mistake about that; they delivery more perfect single material on 'Weary Eyes', as if they simply can't allow the quality to dip; no band in this category would turn down a song like 'Don't Look Back' with its uplifting, life-affirming chorus. Each and every song is worthy of a review in its own right. Even the reasonably regular 'Kid You're On Your Own' would be a huge highlight for just about any other group, they just seem to bleed anthem after anthem, and if 'Now You Are Free' doesn't count as an anthem then I don't know what does. They don't end on a damp squib either, closer 'Hold Onto Anything' has a stately feel and a grandness that few bands ever manage, although many try. Put simply, 'Augustines' is pretty much perfect.

Augustines' website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

20 JAN 2014 Berlin, Germany, Privat Club
21 JAN 2014 London, UK, The Lexington
05 FEB 2014 Vancouver, BC Venue
07 FEB 2014 Seattle, WA, Neumos
08 FEB 2014 Portland, OR, Doug Fir Lounge
10 FEB 2014 San Francisco, CA, The Independent
11 FEB 2014 West Hollywood, CA, The Troubadour
13 FEB 2014 San Diego, CA, Soda Bar
15 FEB 2014 Phoenix, AZ, Crescent Ballroom
17 FEB 2014 Houston, TX, House of Blues Bronze Peacock
18 FEB 2014 Austin, TX, Stubb's Bar-B-Q
19 FEB 2014 Dallas, TX, House of Blues Cambridge Room
21 FEB 2014 New Orleans, LA, Parish at House of Blues
22 FEB 2014 Atlanta, GA, The Masquerade
23 FEB 2014 Nashville, TN, Mercy Lounge
25 FEB 2014 Durham, NC, Motorco
26 FEB 2014 Washington, DC, U Street Music Hall
28 FEB 2014 Philadelphia, PA, Boot & Saddle
03 MAR 2014 New York, NY, Bowery Ballroom
05 MAR 2014 Boston, MA, Brighton Music Hall
06 MAR 2014 Providence, RI Fete Lounge
07 MAR 2014 Rochester, NY, The Club at Water Street
09 MAR 2014 Montreal, Canada, Belmont
11 MAR 2014 Toronto, Canada, The Garrison
12 MAR 2014 Ann Arbor, MI, Blind Pig
14 MAR 2014 Cleveland Heights, OH, Grog Shop
15 MAR 2014 Chicago, IL, Lincoln Hall
17 MAR 2014 Minneapolis, MN, 7th Street Entry
18 MAR 2014 St. Louis, MO, Firebird
19 MAR 2014 Kansas City, MO, Riot Room
21 MAR 2014 Denver, CO, Larimer Lounge
22 MAR 2014 Salt Lake City, UT, Club Sound
14 APR 2014 London, UK, London Koko

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