Formerly known as The Surrogates and having been through minor line-up changes in the last year or so, Mourning Singers, based between Barnsley and Doncaster, have finally got round to releasing their debut record, an eight track mini-album called Let The Quiet Hold You.
I first saw the band perform over two years ago on a bill alongside McCarthy Vigil – in fact they’d be more than at home of the latter’s label, Of National Importance Records. They share a similar lo-fi and laid back musical aesthetic; something that is very present of their debut release. I’d been waiting for a record from them ever since.
Let The Quiet Hold You opens with Luck, a heavy guitar led Brit-Rock sound a la Idlewild, replete with the distinctive baritone of vocalist Richard Myers. Carnival is much darker in tone and more in keeping with those comparisons to The National and Interpol, that the band have been known for.
Next up is Modern Buzz, which starts with a riff that took me right back to Placebo’s Alergic (To Thoughts of Mother Earth) but soon falls into a wistful and chiming ballad.
Fire Escape hints at No More Shall We Part-era Bad Seeds and more National, until it kicks into overdrive on the last-minute and would probably be a great way to end a live set. While House of Cards stands out because of its use of backing vocals. This is something that I would love to hear more of. Sometimes Richard’s vocal can get lost in such an immersive backdrop. The extra vocal instrumentation compliments him no end and allows his voice to standout brighter. Close Your Eyes is the shortest track here and maybe the most instant. It reminds me of the cinematic confessionals of the Tindersticks and Arab Strap, which is definitely an excellent thing. And just like Tindersticks make brilliant use of orchestral arrangements, I think Mourning Singers would also benefit greatly from the use of strings in some of their songs. The song also uses backing vocals again to dramatic effect. More please!
Magpie, like the opening track reminds be of Idlewild during their more sentimental moments and its crescendo ending would have been a perfect way to finish this collection if it wasn’t for the outstanding closing track.
Ashes is an epic closer. Quietly apocalyptic and unapologetically mournful. The guitars burn like chard cinders and the vocal chords are more raw than what came before. It makes me think of Hope of the States; a band that should have been much bigger than they were, and early White Lies. Ashes is my slow-burning, climatic highlight and a perfect way to end a great collections of songs.
An eight track album it not all that common these days, especially for a debut record, but the band have a knack for song-writing that serves it well. They have the obvious calling-card of a unique voice and a band that can create quite an atmospheric sound. In fact, there are many ways in which I could even see Mourning Singers expanding on their already big sound. For now though, as debuts go, it’s spot-on.
Check out their album, or maybe call on the band for a psychical copy. The band do a grand job of replicating their sound on stage too.