In music, size matters. Biggest is often best – Phil Spector needed his ‘Wall of Sound’ and Queen their Wembley ’86. AVNT GARDS appear to have used the same formula when coming up with the name of their debut EP: ‘I didn’t branch out into horror until much later on’, but even larger than this rather verbose title is the sound which the fourpiece achieve across its four tracks.
The EP is the culmination of six months of putting out singles, gigging, and appearing on local radio, all the while building a solid following. Proceedings are opened with ‘Grit Your Teeth’, or more specifically the Sabre-tooth Tiger guitar work of Rashik Aryal before we descend into C86 smoothness. This leads into ‘Silhouettes’, a track which shows more shades of sixties’ psychedelia, before we reach latest single ‘Daydream’:
For me that guitar is pure early-Blur: sixties, eighties, and now nineties AVNT GARDS are a band for all seasons. The EP’s final track ‘Run and Hide’ doesn’t simply continue this trend with its contemporary introspective indie, it borrows from what’s been before, and suggests that this band’s future is in this track’s ending (its outro).
In making an EP of such variety, the band has solidified their ability to work together:
“There’s commonalities between the tracks and a certain ‘AVNT GARDS-isms’ but the four are inspired by different influences, genres and moods. Every track connects a common theme but looks at it from a different angle and there’s a pivotal moment in each where our individuality comes through with the support of the rest of the band. We have all put our mark on the record.”
The boys have also managed to put their mark on the industry: they made their debut music video for ‘Daydream’, and their EP release gig at Leicester’s Donkey was a riotous affair. Drummer Tom O’Callaghan told me:
“Packing out a small venue and looking out into a sea of AVNT GARDS t-shirt-clad fans as we opened with new single ‘Daydream’ was intense. The track had been out that day and yet we still had people chanting along with the chorus. Skip ahead to the encore and the stage is full of fans, the overhead drum mic is collapsed over my kit and I can’t see the rest of the band for jumping kids. If every gig was like that one I don’t think we’d ever do anything else!”
With ‘Daydream’s reception, do AVNT GARDS dare to dream of such things? They show no signs of slowing down with a huge gig hosted by This Feeling at The Cookie on March 30th. ‘I didn’t branch out into horror until much later on’ is a mouthful, but it is also a masterpiece, its achievements compounded by the brief period these boys have been together. AVNT GARDS can rest easy, we on the other hand need to think of a succinct way of referring to this EP (maybe ‘IDBOIHUMLO’?!), because I reckon it will be one which people keep returning to.
AVNT GARDS play the Cookie on 30/3. Details can be found here.
Check out the EP below: