Leicester’s AVNT GARDS sound second to none on sophomore single ‘Grit Your Teeth’

We were wowed by these boys back in June. Mid-heatwave their debut ‘Run and Hide’ was as cool as blast of polar air: they were the beast from the East-Midlands. Now as the sun sinks in the sky, AVNT GARDS are back with ‘Grit Your Teeth’. An Autumn statement of intent from the Leicester four-piece, which we feel privileged to be premiering today.

The song starts on a knife edge, with Rashik Aryal’s guitar mixing reverb and razor wire. It’s some rough, rude Frusciante-infused fretting, which demands the world take note. Once our ears are attuned, the Tom O’Callaghan – Alex Jarrett rhythm section switch the music from muscular to melodious, before Cairen Dheensa’s C86 androgyny announces itself on the microphone. From rough-’round-the-edges rock, to free and easy indie in the space of several seconds, from John Smith’s to the Smiths – that’s the sound of AVNT GARDS, as Cairen told me:

“‘Grit Your Teeth’ is one of those perfectly AVNT GARDS tracks. It epitomises our sound with its rich layers of guitar and vocal, whilst underneath it’s simple. The structure is just off the beaten track but not completely abstract and it all ties together to produce something relatable and listenable to.”

The soulful-psych of ‘Run and Hide’ is here in spades, but ‘Grit Your Teeth’ is set apart from its predecessor by delivering more emotion in less time. The lyrics are superb and are sung with such fragility that they almost collapse under their own weight. As Cairen puts it, the track is ‘both deeply personal and universal’: there is a stamp of individuality in the emotion, intonation, and improvisation, particularly during the bridge, but also an awareness of what success sounds like and, sensibly, to not shy away from using it.

And AVNT GARDS have been finding that success. The Summer has seen them gigging around Leicester, playing at Orangefest in Nottingham, and recently supporting Our City Fires at Firebug. ‘Grit Your Teeth’ has been in their sets for a while and has been tried and tested on the road:

“It’s always a crowd-pleaser. It has a ‘big sound’ quality live that Ryan [producer] has managed to masterfully bottle on the recording.”

They’re not wrong. Rather than let fate forge their futures, AVNT GARDS have decided to let their singing do the talking. In ‘Grit Your Teeth’ they have a song which is polished enough to reflect the listener’s life in its lyrics, and a sound which both hits you in the face and sounds like a hit. The summer might be ending, but AVNT GARDS are just getting started.

You can catch AVNT GARDS supported by Vigilantes, The Veez, and LIGHTWASH at 2Funky Music Cafe, Leicester on Thursday October 4th. Details here.