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The Procession - Sometimes (EP Review)

Tuesday, 03 May 2011 Written by Ed Davies
The Procession - Sometimes (EP Review)

The opening fade-in to this debut EP’s title track marks a breach of middle-of-the-road indie flooding clubs across the land. 'Sometimes' is a three-and-a-half minute tour through the band’s best qualities: genial guitar subtlety over muted vocals, bass and drums doing more than keeping pace; the song in isolation contains half a dozen memorable hooks book-ended by enticing guitar drone. The song’s chorus first sounds like a conflict of interest between lead guitar and vocal, but somehow the two fit. The build-up first and cut-away second verses indicate genuine intelligence on the musicians’ parts: rather than loud/quiet/loud, we are treated to writhing bass and clever use of snare.  

Any avid REM follower will note the nod to ‘Monty Got a Raw Deal’ by its namesake ‘Johnny’. This second track indicates a real capacity for the band to transcend mood, both lyrically and musically. Another high-lick from a lead guitarist with stunning versatility is the highlight, while a swinging vocal and bassline carry the song to a garage-esque repeated chorus. If nothing else, this two-minute ditty shows us indie’s playful side.  
ImageOn the REM note, the band do not hide the influence of their Georgia counterparts, with the title track’s vocal (which could slide into ‘Monster’ with ease), ‘Johnny’ and its title nod, and ‘Life & Strife’ sounding initially like Richard Ashcroft crooning ‘Find the River’. It’s a tribute to the young musicianship on show that REM bassman Mike Mills could hear any one of these tracks and think: ‘Is this me?’ 
‘A_S_L’ is best envisaged as a live favourite, with a mid-section that could hit much greater heights in the bands presence than those met here. A crawling bassline leads the listener into a song driven first by the scrawled vocal and latterly by a tinny guitar solo where the lead man again pulls out all his stops. Without huge imagination lyrically, the bands’ musical sophistication again succeeds, not least the stop/start drumming which glues together the chorus. 
The final salute of ‘‘Life & Strife’’ opens with superbly-controlled guitar drone which captures the desperation of the dystopian vocals perfectly. The song follows a discipline in resisting crescendo, where the other songs allow for such musical release. A true resignation rings from the lyrics ("I don’t know who I am or how I got there") through to the verses’ drone and bassline, which tows the song into a blissful chorus. Again, the musicianship wins through and another emotional dimension is explored. 
It is truly the depth and subtlety of the melodies that shine through on The Procession’s infinitely promising debut EP, a set of musicians well-read in 90’s alternative rock as well as more recent indie fare. The band seem programmed to get the most out of their instruments at every turn, a trait which bodes well for the hotly-anticipated summer debut album.

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