Spokes - Everyone I Ever Met - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Spokes - Everyone I Ever Met

by Steve Rhodes Rating:8.5 Release Date:2011-01-31

Twin effects-driven guitars, a rising and falling bass, pulsing drums and violin have been a mainstay of many instrumental post-rock artists in recent times, to varied fortunes, but has often become a rather tired and repetitive concept. Manchester via Preston band Spokes thankfully have so much more to offer than this and demonstrate it perfectly with their first full-length album, Everyone I Have Ever Met. Following on from their glorious, largely instrumental but sadly largely underheard mini-LP People Like You Like You, Spokes have added vigour, vocals and are aiming for the stratospheres with this album.

The change in direction is best summed up by the glorious 'Torn Up on Praise'. Beginning with a freak-out and reverting into an epic, pounding melody, with vocals supported by plucked and bowed strings, the song is a relentless anthem that brings a huge smile to the face. Recent single 'We Can Make It Out' takes the direct theme even further, with multi-vocal chant-along lyrics, aiming less for the Arcade Fire template but towards a uniquely British perspective, with echoes of British Sea Power but more so the long lost Fields.

There is far more to Everyone I Ever Met than breast-beating anthems though. There are quiet guitar and piano interludes with 'Sun It Never Comes' and 'Canon Grant', yearning introspection with 'Forever the Bridge' and 'Peace Racket', and darker moments on 'Happy Needs Colour'. The latter song also adopts Gorky's Zygotic Mynci-esque time-changes from a reflective Mogwai into 'Patio Song'-era Gorky's.

This shapeshifting is also apparent on title track 'Everyone I Ever Met'. Atmospheric keys and a haunting female vocal break suddenly into feedback-driven noise and finally into a delightfully reflective and dreamy ode. A more subtle change can be seen with 'When I was a Daisy When I was a Tree'. A mournful minor-key piano-led opening leads beautifully into a wistfully optimistic chorus, with the vocals encouraging the listener to "come on, just come on". An excellent closer and highlight of the album.

While some bands maintain a safe consistency over the life of their recording career, Spokes have been rather bold with this album. While not totally abandoning their instrumental beginnings, allowing the odd crescendo, Spokes have produced a varied, expansive album, without running the risk of being accused of being Arcade Fire parodists. While it's not likely to launch Spokes into stadium territory, Everyone I Ever Met is a mature album buzzing with ambition.

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