Meet The Amazons, whose new album Future Dust is alt-rock gold
The explosive Reading rockers bring the ruckus on their new album, out now through Fiction / Caroline Australia.
Reading have had their fair share of musicians break into international waters - Does It Offend You, Yeah?, SG Lewis and Slowdive amongst our personal favourites - but none bring the ruckus quite like The Amazons. Since their self-titled debut album premiered the rock four-piece as an act bound to dominate, the band have done exactly that. They've found themselves nominated for BBC's esteemed Sound Of... annual poll (it counts Sam Smith, HAIM, Adele and 50 Cent as past winners), amongst end-of-year lists from MTV and GQ, and have scored top ten UK chart positions for both their 2017 debut and their 2019 follow-up Future Dust; all signalling their future as top-tier rock musicians emerging from an area so known for their captivating live bands.
Listening back to their debut, the potential success for a band that seemingly came out of nowhere is a lot more clear-cut and obvious. Much like their countrymen the Arctic Monkeys, The Amazons' music is built upon indescribable swagger and energy; frontman Matt Thomson utilising the slight, effortlessly-cool twang in his confident vocal to capture your attention while their guitar-backed, classic-rock sound draws you in with every listen, taking a very authentic and 'classic' sound and merging it with something more forward-thinking and exciting. There are easy comparables - Splendour-bound Sam Fender, himself a recent break-out; cult-favourites Circa Waves; Australian favourites Catfish & The Bottlemen - but The Amazons' music is so distinctly them, setting them aside from the rest as a band doing something new; a difficult feat, but one that perhaps hints at their potential longevity as an act in a quite saturated space.
Take their most recent album Future Dust for example. It tracks their evolution as a band and how they're able to unite yesterday with tomorrow in a musical sense; taking hints from classic blues and stadium-rock while incorporating moments that feel like the future of energetic rock. "We were searching for a heavier sound and we found it by delving back through the blues," says Thomson on the album in a quote. "From Led Zeppelin, we discovered Howlin’ Wolf and immersed ourselves in his back catalogue. I read Hellfire, the Jerry Lee Lewis biography, and fell in love with the Biblical language that was used to describe his ‘devil music’."
Throughout Future Dust, you can feel these influences shine through. The album-opening Mother brings stadium-rock drum-breaks and thick guitar melodies with subtle twangs that you might not pick up on within the first listen, while 25 sees them take on a more indie-centric sound that unites their signature sound with warm melodies and bright fills. Contrastingly, Doubt It - two tracks further into the album - is dark and slow, utilising the free space that comes with dropping their standard high-BPM with more layers to create a maximalist sensation hard to replicate; Dark Visions places the attention onto crisp guitar melodies, and Warning Sign sees them unite ballad-esque pre-choruses with their thickly-layered choruses for same-song contrast.
Go deeper, and you'll find signs of a band beginning to flourish into something entirely new. In the wake of a declining rock market ("Rock and roll isn’t really that relevant anymore," said their frontman to The Independent earlier this year), the band are taking on new qualities, finding inspiration in things like the Irish countryside and technology-less living as the Thomson explains the experience as "very idyllic, somewhere you can get lost and, because there isn't a huge amount of signal, we really felt cut off from the world" in an interview with Billboard. "In a positive way, because we got some time and space to gain a bit of perspective and a real sense of what was going on outside. We listened to huge amounts of music. We cooked together, hung out together and bonded again, and got into the groove of writing, recording and knowing what we wanted to do sonically and lyrically. Especially with the music that we were very intent on making, kind of unapologetic rock and roll."
You can feel this refined connection as a band throughout Future Dust. Unlike some rock bands, the focus is less-so on their frontman than it is the instrumental which rises and falls alongside it, placing just as much of an emphasis on Chris Alderton (guitar), Elliot Briggs (bass guitar) and Joe Emmett (drums) and the ruckus they create. Thomson's strong hooks and signature howl are still present and in the limelight, but without the instrumental backing, they're nothing - and The Amazons know this. In a time where rock music is falling behind in favour of rap and pop, The Amazons are sticking to their guns; as long as they're together. "We’re very prepared to fail, but we’ll stand by it. We’re making the music we want to hear."
The Amazons' new album Future Dust is out now via Fiction Records/Caroline Australia.
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