Record review: Watchfires – A Captive Still

a2590757249_10Watchfires are a hyper-energetic quintet for Aberdeenshire, who defy their rural roots to create a racket reminiscent of The Gaslight Anthem.

Comprised of ex-Headlight members Ewan Donald (vocals), Mitch Bain (guitar) and Jamie Donald (drums) plus flesh blood in the form of Mark Salter (bass) and Alexander Lorgen (guitar, vocals), the four tracks that make up A Captive Still have a sense of urgency and a heavy yet melodic sensibility that marks them out as ones to watch.

Recorded at Depot Studios in Edinburgh, the EP’s title is taken from a lyric on the Everlong-channeling ‘And She Lived Ever After’, but before we get there we’re treated to the energetic but tuneful high-drama punk-rock fireball of ‘King Midas’ and a detour into the anthemic Idlewild-like ‘Dream, Parisienne’, with its shout-along chorus of “Here I am in your arms again, as you pore over me, dream Parisienne!”.

Whether it’s Donald’s impassioned vocals or the duelling guitars of Bain and Lorgen, all the elements of Watchfires seem to fit together so naturally, it’s as if they’ve been together far longer six months.

The multi-part ‘And She Lived Ever After’ delivers grandstanding guitar and quiet-loud explosions, while the unstoppable ‘In the Avalanche’ opens with splashy garage-rock reminiscent of The Hives before taking in military drums and jagged, intertwined guitars on their way to an energetic final chorus.

A Captive Still is a hugely promising first salvo.

Here’s hoping they blow us out of the water next time.

Words: Max Sefton

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