Glaswegian trio Prides showcase their synth-pop expertise in eagerly-anticipated album ‘The Way Back Up.’ The boys have done their time; after working the festival circuits, building up a dedicated fan base and even performing at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Prides more than deserve the dizzy heights of success that their debut will bring. The trio hail from Glasgow and are made up of singer Stewart Brock, instrumentalist Callum Wiseman and drummer Lewis Gardiner. If you’ve listened to Prides before then album ‘The Way Back Up’ follows all of the guidelines that would be expected from synth-pop’s ones-to-watch; techno keyboard solos, booming drum beats and Brock’s echoing vocals create irresistible dance tracks, but it is in their slower songs where their skill is put to best use.
‘I Should Know You Better’ is the record’s opening track and it is a perfect representative for the whole album. Already a hit with fans the track ends sounding echoey and anthem-like encouraging chants and crowd involvement as Brock confesses, ‘I know that we will live forever now, but even so, I should know you better by now.’ Brock’s vocals are electric, passionate and convey so much emotion that the effect is raw and powerful. The synthy clangs, keyboard beats and Killers-like guitar riffs spiral into a fast pop track which is bound to be loved. However, too many of the tracks on the album seem to have followed the same plan; ‘Messiah’ and ‘Higher Love,’ although brilliant as stand alone singles, sound almost identical when placed next to each other on the album. Each song ends in the anthem chant with the same synth vibe and so offers little to further excite the listener or challenge their boundaries.
Highlights therefore, come when Prides branch away from these dance pop tracks. ‘Some Mistakes’ is a beautifully emotive track which sees Brock admitting ‘I’m learning to stay away from love’ while the raw desperation of his voice is at once poignant and harrowing. The softer guitar riffs echo the emotional depth of the vocals to create a gem of a track. Likewise, closing track ‘The Kite String And The Anchor Rope’ is a touching ballad with a beautiful piano accompaniment perfectly matching the emotional tone of the vocals. These tracks prove that Prides don’t need their characteristic synth beats to affect and move a listener. Saying that, title track ‘The Way Back Up’ is a euphoric summer song which is reminiscent of MGMT and their upbeat classics. ‘Little Danger’ is instantly likeable and perhaps shows a new direction for the synth Glaswegians while also maintaining their well-loved dance qualities.
Prides have delivered a solid album; both fans and new listeners will enjoy their 11 track record with its mix of emotion and techno. Some of the tracks do sound fairly repetitive especially given the order of the track-list, and the structure of the songs. However, ‘The Way Back Up’ is a great album, the synth-pop tracks make easy listening and the slower tempo songs set off the album brilliantly. Prides are on the brink of huge success and this is album proves why.
‘The Way Back Up’ is out on the 10th July 2015, via Island Records. The full track-listing for the album is…
‘I Should Know You Better’
‘Let It Go’
‘It’s Not Gonna Change’
‘Just Say It’
‘Out of the Blue’
‘The Way Back Up’
‘The Kite String and the Anchor Rope’