The Leicester four-piece sound like an already established act on debut single ‘Run and Hide’
This track has it all. In four and a half minutes these Leicester lads take us on a whistle-stop tour through musical motifs and heavenly hooks. From the acoustic opening they have us in the palm of their hand, then a gradual growth of electronic noise stops just shy of shoegaze. Soaring, it sets its sights on the sky but remains rooted to the rhythm section.
Then comes lead singer Cairen Dheensa’s voice. It’s dreampop with added drive: cigarettes before, during, and after sex; Japanese breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The verse is well-crafted, the pre-chorus has a sound ‘you-swear-you’ve-heard-before’ but stops short of cliche, then lead guitarist Rashik Aryal returns to the opening hook with added aggression. The band has touched on every style possible, and we are only one minute in, as they put it:
“Fundamentally, there’s a lot in there; lyrically, in the tones, and the ebbs and flows. We hope that it will be one of those tracks that is able to speak uniquely from one individual to the next.”
The chorus is a killer, as is the solo which follows. The band tells me they “wanted to prove that there is life still in guitar music”, and by melding it with pop-hooks they prove just that. The lyrics maintain this mantra: the chorus is catchy, the rest rich in detail which rewards repeated listenings. On the lyrical front, AVNT GARDS stated:
“We wanted to steer away from the typical themes presented by rock and indie music to find something that resonated with us personally, and that would resonate with others as well. Ultimately there is a lot promised whilst growing up, often things may not come to fruition and the way in which you approach unfavourable outcomes defines your character.”
The first 2:40 minutes are brilliant, but the band save the best ’til last. The drums stop, the stripped back acoustics of the opening are heard, and then begins a carefully crafted crescendo of psychedelic soul. Touching the hazy indie-rock of DIIV but with more guts and guitars, the band plays out the track. The bass has all the grandeur of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’ and the chords seem rise and fall at once, like an M.C Escher image. A perfect set closer, the song then sinks into silence, we wait for the next track on the album, then remember: it’s a debut.
The boys describe the songwriting process for ‘Run and Hide’ as one of those moments “where everything almost fell into place and we were all on the same page musically”, and you can tell this is the case. It is cool, classy, and crafted. The first half shows a fully fledged band, full of musical knowledge, and marketable potential, the second is a joyous jam; four guys in a garage playing the warm sounds of summer with strats and ciders.
AVNT GARDS are avant garde – they pick from the past, produce perfection in the present, and have the potential for a fantastic future. Watch this space, these boys are here to stay!