Life is never easy for a band on the road, something Tall Ships can attest to, having made a nine hour trip from their native Brighton to perform at the Beacons festival. But there’s more than enough reason for the group to be cheerful.
The band began when Ric (singer), Matt (bassist) and Jamie (drummer) met at University in Falmouth. Over the next few years they went from playing house parties and pubs to the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading Festival, eventually culminating in the release of their debut album ‘Everything Touching’ in 2012, with a sound somewhere between the ethereal Sigur Ross and the rock of Biffy Clyro. I met Ric and Matt backstage, having drawn an ecstatic crowd for their rain stopping set.
“It was good” enthused Matt “I was worried people would still be in bed or be put off by the rain, but it was fantastic.”
The crowd were more than onside for the set, heavier on rockier numbers, such as ‘Gallop’ and ‘Oscar’, but still finding time for touching love song ‘Ode to Ancestors.
It’s been a good few year for Tall Ships. ‘Everything Touching’ achieved scores of positive reviews from the likes of BBC Music, with its thoughtful lyrics and complex, layered songs, built on the band’s trade mark looping. Matt describes their sound as a unification of many influences, from pop, to heavy metal, and Ric’s lyrics also reveal a very personally inspired record.
“The thing with the first album is that we didn’t pin ourselves down and just kept exploring our songs. I think, lyrically, it’s really great to get up on stage and express yourself. It’s great to put feelings in to a song and say what you want to say. “
And it shows. Not only is there great variation on the album itself, but also within individual songs.
Tracks such as ‘Ode to Ancestors’, for example, move from a dreamy opening to a driving drum beat and looped guitar riff. The live performances have also benefitted.
“ The shows got really big. We played to nearly eight hundred people in the Scarlet in London, it was so much more than we could hope for. People sing at our shows now, we love it.”
And now, another album is coming to fruition, with nineteen songs in the mix for the final cut.
“With the first album we were progressively leaning what to do and went in to recording with minimal ideas.
This time round we’ve more of a coherent idea of we want to do. Post rock but with pop....post rock in under four minutes”.
With an October tour to come and the new album tentatively scheduled for early next year, it looks as though Tall Ships will be clocking up a few more hours on the road. But if the reaction at Beacons is anything to go by they’ll moving from strength to strength, and in 2015, they could be on the verge of something very exciting.