Amber Run play atmospheric indie pop of a kind that you’ve heard before, but it’s got a fresh sound and it’s entertaining. It’s emotional pop with soaring harmonies aplenty and slightly falsetto vocals, the instrumentation lush and multi-layered.
It starts off well with Insomniac, an emotive tune that reminded us of Longview. Amber Run also recall a band called Air Traffic, who you probably won’t remember except for one great tune, Shooting Star. We went to the Sugar Mill to see them, convinced they were going to be the next big thing. They weren’t obviously, and this is the danger for Amber Run — it’s a crowded market.
It’s often the vocals that make a band and the singer has a nice voice that draws you into his tales of regret and longing. Opener Insomniac is about meeting someone who’s lost his way in life, while No Answers is a similar tale about meeting up with someone who let you down. Island recalls a one-sided relationship, while Stranger is about love itself, the stranger who comes knocking on one’s door. Or not. Other song titles include Fickle Game, Haze and White Lie — you get the picture. They’ve not invented this style of music but they are good at it.
* Since writing this I’ve seen them live – I still think the music might struggle to rise to the top under its own steam, but live they are excellent – nice people, good musicians, good stage presence. The subtle songs lose a little at being played loud, but live you can see what good musicians they are. And the crowd loved them – I’ve not seen so much love since I saw Justin Currie from Del Amitri. Last time I saw an act whose songs slightly underwhelmed me but who was loved by his crowd and impressed with his talent was Ed Sheeran, so maybe great hings await Amber Run.