The Equatorial Group – Apricity (Review)

Think Fleetwood Mac but more folk orientated. The Equatorial Group are a group of friends from the East of Sussex. With many things in common but primarily being the same influences in music and life, the five piece band create a gentle landscape with their subtle but powerful compositions. Released on May 25th, Apricity is honest.

The smooth vocals in “Lights Shine” remind me of the control that Dido delivers through her pop songs. The folk ambition of the track is pure and nothing seems to be missing. The production as a whole is quite angelic and is the perfect music to just chill out and listen too. I feel this song may have had a reference towards the arrangement of Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. The bright harmonies create this wave of emotions of what feels like the end of a relationship. ‘I wallow in delusions of grandeur of a life that I have seldom seen” is a lyric that really stood out to me the most in the track as it means I wallow in my own head of the way that things are presented. It could be that the artists are feeling insecure with the way they look and being took to the place where the lights shine could be the reassurance of anxiety and feeling healthier. Beautiful song.

“Juggernauts” is a story that takes us constantly from the start to the finish. A truly breathtaking composition. From every pin point of the instruments; subtle drum rolls, a discrete walking bass line, rhythmical guitar chords, and those gorgeous vocal breaks in the main vocals really creates this honest song. A juggernaut usually means a large vehicle or a powerful force, so when the singer sings “we’re more like juggernauts,” I was really confused. It then hit me that juggernauts metaphorically can mean destructive and unstoppable, just like the relationship in the story of this track. The almost six-minute track really does float on a cloud of feelings. As the song’s time signature changes, it has a more progressive feel which is understandable with the band, as progressive music is honest and very emotional, just like them.

A lot more upbeat but still sits in the minor key of heartache is “Surrogate Funeral.” It’s about feeling alone even though you’re with someone at the time. This is the first track on the album that features male vocals as the lead and even though technically they may not be as strong as the females, the emotion throughout his voice is delivered perfectly for the isolation of the track. I must say that the production of the album so far has complimented the band even more. We already know how talented they are but with the engineering and mixing of Dave Lynch with Christoph Skirl at Echo Zoo Studios, and mastering by Antony Ryan at RedRedPaw, it has really took the band to the next level.

“Toy Shark” ; a track that you can definitely hear the American roots influence. It’s like a cross of the country atmosphere that Dolly Parton portrayed in Jolene and Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy.” Female vocals dominate once more. As a whole, the song is good, but doesn’t feel as powerful as the first three. Something is lacking and I feel it’s the more emotional approach. They really hit the nail on the head with all the topics they’ve mentioned in the first 3 tracks, but this track seems to be lacking the identification it’s screaming for. The arrangement as a whole is a different approach to what we’ve heard so far, which is great.

Drowning in a tremolo effect, the guitar parts at the beginning of “Burning” are like waves crashing against the sand, making us feel that this song is going to be angelic and floating above our heads. Suddenly, the vocals come storming in with a gentle, blues attitude. This track was what’s missing on the album so far; moodiness. We’ve heard a lot of heartache and sad songs, but this is just pure dark attitude. The jazz-blues essence of the track is sleazy and a completely new sound for the americana band. Like. A LOT.

Automatically, I feel emotional with this track. The album is in memory of Bradford Gross, making this album a whole other level of personal. “Farewell My Lovely” is a bridge of honesty of missing someone and running out of time. Helen Weeks’ voice is constantly angelic and never needs to do all the showing off to get her point across, she just sings the songs and makes every word have an emotion to it. An overwhelming song of being genuine in what you feel. The longest track on the whole album is “Electric Night.” Most of the track is dealt with solos upon solos which is a new adventure for the album. The album so far has been very melodic with only really vocals and harmonies, so hearing a new tone and instrument in this arrangement is welcomed with a big smile. As for the song, it deals with wanting someone with you and how its cold without them there with you. I really love how each sentence is pretty much answered with the next one and so on. It’s like reading a book that you never want to end. 

“Those Dudes” is probably my least favourite track on the album. Personally, I feel it just doesn’t escalate or dynamically go anywhere. It feels a bit like it’s tried to sound like everything else on the album so far. Saying that, the production and arrangement is still there and I have to give it to the band, they’re pretty tight and are really great songwriters. The album really does need some time to sit and study it to truly understand all the hidden nooks and crannies. I really like how more a less every title of each track has nothing really to do with the song itself, just like “Motorbikes.” Parts in this song you can really hear additional instruments being added into the set up, session musicians were hired for the album. Pioneering this track is the Hammond organ played by the engineer of the album; Dave Lynch. Other additional instruments include Sacha Kenward (percussion), Adam Seigel (saxophone) and Steve Russell (trumpet). 

The shortest track on the album, “Sometime in Spring” is a superb send off to such a personal, moving album. This would be a song that would get you up and jiving away with your friends. It’s definitely a summer (or spring!) feel good song that I’ll be playing throughout 2019. The Equatorial Group are Dave Davies, Twe Fox, Andy Tourle, Mike Tourle and Helen Weeks; a huge congratulations to the band for creating a wonderful album. 

Favourite Tracks: Lights Shine, Juggernauts, Surrogate Funeral, Burning, Farewell My Lovely, Electric Night, Motorbikes, Sometime in Spring

Score: 8/10

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