Amber Run claim on their facebook page that they are not writing music that sounds like 2014. Regardless of their intentions, that is exactly what they succeed in. On a first listen to their track Noah it is easy to draw a parallel between the Nottingham based band and the familiar sound of west London folk messiahs Mumford & Sons. Producing a sound even somewhat akin to Mumford & Sons, the mainstream keystone of folk’s resurgence makes Amber Run more current than they even are willing to admit. Appearances at Kendal Calling, Great Escape and Isle of White festivals have reinforced this position in the now and demonstrate that Amber Run can only be seen to be making the most of 2014, and so they should; their particular brand of pop tinged indie music has never been more relevant.
This relevance has drawn the music industry onto the band’s scent like a shark to blood in the water, with several high profile co-signs. As well as signing to RCA Victor (the record label responsible for the likes of David Bowie and Pharrell Williams) Amber Run have struck gold in securing Mike Crossey as the producer of their new album, the man who was responsible for the debut single and first two albums of the Arctic Monkeys. While such signs are promising they seem a telltale warning to early followers that this is a band that wishes to break from the small stage into the ranks of Bastille and The 1975 that lie beyond. Perhaps the fact that Mark Owen, former member of Take That, is acting as the band’s ambassador provides the most telling evidence that this is a band that is more likely to appear on the next addition of ‘NOW that’s what I call music’ than to continue playing on small, intimate stages surrounded by cliquey groups of followers, much like their early adoption by the majors would suggest.
Aside from making speculative forecasts regarding the band’s future, despite my earlier comparison of their song Noah with Mumford and Sons, one of the things that I admire most about the band is the diversity they display in their music. While Noah is melodic and captivating, their latest single Spark is a Summer Anthem through and through and I Found fits an atmospheric gap between Alt-J and Kodaline. Importantly, all these comparisons are to already established front runners of the Alternative charts. There’s no escaping the feeling that these tracks were designed to catapult them through the festival season to whatever awaits them beyond. Regardless of the forecast about what this may be, we are excited by the music they are releasing at the moment and what 2014 and beyond might bring them. This is after all, a big year for them.
Words by Paul Clegg