Whilst the garden of urban and dance music has bloomed and flourished, soaking up the spotlight of recent years, just over the fence the UK indie-rock scene has become a somewhat stark and barren land. Escapists are out to bring some much needed life to the landscape with their upcoming EP Burial, released on May 21st. The style is that of mildly-uplifting, atmospheric, guitar-based indie. Escapists clearly take influence from bands such as The National and The Shins, creating the same kind of epic sound which would not be amiss in a festival setting.
The EP opens with “Ghost in Your Bedroom”, which is a fairly minimalistic track. It consists primarily of a slowly picked guitar riff and a warm but haunting vocal. This song is really effective in its simplicity. It builds to just the right level with a singular flourish of vocal harmony towards the end and the tactful use of a violin and cello to add a further dimension.
Escapists then pick up the pace with title track “Burial”. The driving guitar work, delicate riffing and rolling drum beat give this track a real anthemic quality. It builds steadily to a crescendo which only adds to the sense that this song would go down well in the evening haze of this summer’s festivals. The EP continues in a similar vein with “Witching Hour” which follows the same kind of structure. The guitar element in this track creates a nice sense of tension, which serves to intensify the emotional release when the song finally breaks and the previously restrained vocal takes flight. The only issue with is that it feels prematurely curtailed, which is a shame because it is arguably the standout on this release and the band really could have milked the great ending.
The final track “Northern Lights” seems less developed and is perhaps the weakest link here. It does have a catchy sing-a-long quality to it however; expect to have the words “Aurora Borealis” circling in your head for at least an hour after hearing this track.
Escapists have a little way to go to define their own sound and produce something that truly sets them apart, but for a first EP this is a sound effort. They are not going to reinvent the genre with this offering, but it has some really enjoyable elements and is definitely a good platform from which to develop.
Stefanie Jane Williamson