Riding high on a wave of acclaim from domestic blogs and media outlets, Irish five-piece Come On Live Long describe their music as "fast-paced, groove-laden alternative rock...with loud atmospherics and slow burning electronics". If anything, such a verbose analysis belies the versatility of the band and the creativity of debut album Everything Fall.
Everything Fall offers up a blend of thoughtful alternative rock and classic folk influences, distilled with flourishes of atmospheric electronica. The album's consistent tone is a departure from the immediate payoff of the Dublin band's previous EP releases, but is instead the sound of an independent-minded Irish outfit coming in to their own, tracing lines between diffuse influences with expansive, ethereal and sometimes captivating moments.
An impressive sense of self-belief runs through Everything Fall, as Come On Live Long take possession of each track on the album. The band find their feet with entrancing single 'Little Ones', as the measured delivery of dual vocalists Robert Ardiff and Louise Gaffney yields with panache to emphatic widescreen (Mogwai are a noted inspiration on both music and name of the band). Sprawling and operatic, 'Tide' exemplifies the band's propensity to shift gears and change direction within songs. The neat Ardiff/Gaffney singing combination lends the album extra edge ('Mountains', 'Go'), while piano is also effectively employed (again prominently on 'Mountains', a bid for resilience in the face of adversity). Meanwhile, traces of Come On Live Long's stated touchstones, whether Bibio's unhurried electronica or Efterklang's understated indie rock, are detectable along the way.
Often bare and ungarnished, Everything Fall aims for xx/ James Blake minimalism, but the ensuing uniformity in tempo and style damages the album's momentum. 'Berth', an instrumental essentially dividing Everything Fall in half, holds up in and of itself, but causes the album to stutter and barely avoids derailing it. Elsewhere, the indistinct 'Say Your Prayers' and 'Old Apart' tread water.
That distinctiveness returns with 'Cybil', a soulful handclap-filled tune with lineage to old spirituals and work songs, and on the accomplished 'Billions', its orbiting and nebulous sounds aligning intermittently to evocative and dramatic effect, playing like fitting closing credits to the album.
All told, Come On Live Long pay attention to detail, delivering a coherent and carefully edited effort. Conor Gaffney's crisp production enhances the clarity of the vocals and allows instruments to breathe. In the end, Everything Fall's success is in fostering a hushed atmosphere, the ability to slow the world down before hitting home with a characteristic big sound. A band to be closely monitored.
Review by Killian Barry | THREE POINT FIVE STARS