Indeed, there’s a British sheen to these songs, but the band do cite Oxford legends Ride as an influence. Along with The Stone Roses and The Jesus And Mary Chain, so it makes sense.
Eastern Hollows don’t rely on the shoegaze hallmarks though, the album only lightly nods its head that way. There’s very little pitch bending or destructive distortion, instead they rely on classic rock n’ roll with plenty of reverb and singable melodies. It’s an accessible record with a 90s frame of mind. Apart from the aforementioned singles, ‘Mickey Galaxy’ is a stand out. A dreamy slow burner that escalates over five plus minutes. Overall, Eastern Hollows is solid debut offering that ticks the boxes you’d expect but also has enough diversity to keep you listening. They’ve come a long way since releasing their ‘Days Ahead’ EP in 2012 and deserve all the praise coming to them.
(Sounds Better With Reverb)
Singer Travis DeVries has the feyness of voice all worked out too, somewhere between Ian Brown and Tim Burgess and Andy Bell and that guy from the Telescopes, the nothingness-as-a-virtue delivery as simultaneously frustrating and engaging as all of them. A level above the punningly named generation of covers outfits of today, it's also true to say that when he and his comrades are in that swirly, tremolo laden guitar effects world inhabited largely by the regulars of Snub TV, their analogies work out fine. Half of Days Ahead has also made it here, including the title track which sounds almost eerily reminiscent of The Cure, whilst Still Smile neatly boxes up their Ride/Roses obsession into one hybrid song, all quiet-loud ripples and 60's soaked melodies at the ready like ducks wadding neatly in a row.
When they vary the course however the sun hat doesn't quite fit. No one is saying you need to have been brought up in a back to back to write songs called Northern Lad, but well..it might've helped here, as what's normally lightweight turns into insipid. In a similar way Mickey Galaxy is a timely reminder that even viewed through from a nostalgic perspective, too much of the original stuff was barely nuanced, acres of sound alike filler which mistook it's haziness for atmosphere and drifted into nothingness.
It's a cautionary tale, but Eastern Hollows still has enough reverence to please the paunchy, receding faithful, despite it's clear derivation. Via The Way You've Gone the band are happy to climb up tempo and as a consequence poke the listener deeper into the dry ice, whilst Somewhere In My World strides slightly further back, it's tailor made for the Sarah label mantra making it one of the most precious sounding tunes you'll hear in 2014.
On what riches playing this brand of music will bring in the future, Hollows drummer Jeremy Sampson is very clear; “marry some models, divorce the models, a drug overdose or two, break up, reunion tour and then… do it all over again.” He's joking of course and if they were as Anglicised as the band's music sounds the answer would probably be something about having a cup of tea. Perhaps a bit too nice for their own good, Eastern Hollows are making the sounds of yesterday today, gamely resuscitating the corpse that Kurt made. Whether it's Frankenstein is down to you.