Hey! Selim is a debut album a long time in the making. Formed in 2005, Revere – named for a 2000AD comic strip, apparently – have been behind a series of titillating and captivating EPs; but they’ll live or die by this full length effort.
Fully laden with expectation nurtured by shorter, easier exploits, not to mention winning Glastonbury New Talent and selling out London’s Union Chapel twice, Revere wield the adjectives thrown their way – from “cacophonous” and “epic” to “stunning” and “Arcade Fire-esque” – to make headway in such a manner as to regale, surprise and engage the listener, though not without generous strokes of shade to balance each blinding shaft of light.
It is with restraint that the London-based eight-piece open the chords on their elevation from extended player territory: Forgotten Names treads gingerly into earshot through accordion and pizzicato strings, gradually introducing violin melodies and mournful brass. It’s more Bellowhead than Arcade Fire, if we’re going to be accurate about it.
Cue 2009 single As The Radars Sleep, a brooding, thudding post-rock masterpiece that blossoms beautifully into choral climax, constituent instruments – violin, cello, glockenspiel – handled expertly in their layered contributions. A subtle vein of film score influence in faintly Western flourishes then grows more pronounced with We Won’t Be Here Tomorrow’s anthemic horn chorus.
It is The Escape Artist, however – another previous single release, as it happens – that truly represents Revere’s potent power. It builds irrepressibly through tender, Black Heart Procession-style progressions, carefully layering sounds and crafting a soundscape in a measured, compelling and – taking almost seven minutes to do so, as is the case with a number of Hey! Selim’s tracks – unhurried manner.
As such, it can be a tricky, perhaps futile task to draw specific highlights from the album’s tour de force of a tracklisting: They Always Knock Twice, for instance, packs as much understated drama and darkness into its three minutes as tracks twice that length; Throwing Stones crafts a Sigur R�s-like crescendo as deftly as the Icelanders themselves; I Can’t (Forgive Myself) betrays a curious gypsy influence with such authenticity as to prick the most inattentive of ears.
And, as ever with great albums, the final throes both remind of the preceding glories and augment them in the tracts of memory: from Things We Said’s startling upsurge and I Bet You Want Blood’s odyssey of patchwork influences to Maybe In Time’s gorgeous piano-led ballad and Too Many Satellites’ album-closing, maudlin reprise, there is little left to doubt – Revere are a major talent, and have on their hands one of the albums of the year.