Following in the footsteps of Delays, Fleeingnewyork are the latest band to come out of Southampton and are creating something of a buzz about them. Consisting of Emma Richardson, Russell Marsden and Matt Hayward, all aged 21 or under, they’ve been touring for a good few years now and have eventually produced this, their debut album.
What sets Fleeingnewyork apart from their Libertines-worshipping contempories is a truly surprising, unpredictable edge. On first listen, there may not be that much to distinguish them from countless other indie guitar bands, but study A Ok deeper and countless rewards await.
The first song to deserve special mention is the band’s first single Hollywood Bowl, which is a late contender for single of the year. A ridiculously catchy guitar riff introduces the track before a naggingly insistent refrain of “Hey! Hey!” comes into play. It’s reminiscent of the best of The Breeders, especially with the utterly thrilling coda right at the end – the sort of song that, as soon as it finishes, you want to hear again straight away.
Although nothing else on the album comes close to topping Hollywood Bowl, there’s plenty else that will impress. Opening track Monkey sees Richardson and Marsden duetting over a rumbling bassline before exploding into a chaotic chorus, while Scandanavia is a skewed slow burner boasting a truly great chorus.
Vocally, the duties are shared between Richardson and Marsden, the latter coming across like a modern day Siouxsie Sioux (although the inevitable comparasions to PJ Harvey are bound to be made as well), while Marsden is a more laidback drawl. They work extraordinarily well together, lifting tracks such as the Pixies-like Oh My God to superlative levels.
Although most of the tracks on A OK are rather manic guitar rockers, Fleeingnewyork have a softer side too – Blind Fever is a lovely ballad which is enlivened no end by a burst of rather unexpected trumpet before breaking into an epic guitar solo. In fact, it’s Blind Fever that suggests the band have a long future ahead of them, being willing to experiment with several musical styles, often in the space of one song.
Although there are a couple of moments where the band slip into mediocrity (Sun Is Low is a bit undistinguished compared to the rest of the album), this is generally one hell of a calling card from Fleeingnewyork. Whether they’ll follow Delays commercial success immediately is debatable, but the sound of three people making an almighty racket hasn’t sounded this good for a long time.