The crooner vocals have been traded in for the romanticisation of Birmingham, putting down the thesaurus of pet names and instead creating a narrative that embodies the sounds of the city in Fat Cat‘s latest single ‘Lost’.
The four-piece have moved from over-sexualised pop vibes to tight alternative rock. The song is a swirling ballad, ear-worming its way into your head, reminiscent of a late Kings of Leon belter; the chord progression through the lead guitar and a punchy chorus that repeats itself neatly cements the track as one to be remembered.
‘Lost’ stands apart from Fat Cat‘s previous releases in this way, it captures a story and the essence of a city they are a part of. ‘Lost’ is the tall, dark, mysterious man standing at the end of the bar, whereas ‘Corner Room, Change in Mind’ and ‘Josie Moon’ is the guy telling you to smile more.
The composition, narrative and overall sound of Fat Cat’s latest single marks an exciting maturing of the band. ‘Lost’ is a slick new offering from Fat Cat, showing they’ve found themselves as a group – stepping up for their growing following, proving they’ve got much more to give.
Launching their debut Lost EP back in August 2018, it’s been quite a year for Midlands indie pop rockers – with a steady flow of gigs across the UK underpinning an evolving sound and the singles to prove it.
There’s also been bit of a musical milestone abroad, as The Assist were invited on a six date tour across Russia with The Twang and Riscas – including a chance for the Walsall four piece to play a headline set at the Ural Night Music Festival in front of 12,000 strong audience.
Released on Friday 5th July, ‘It’s Just a Dream Away’ has already been picking up a fair amount of momentum and attention – to listen to ‘It’s Just a Dream Away’ click on the single artwork to your left, or the following highlighted links to stream it via Spotify or The Assist’s Soundcloud page.
And with The Assist‘s Lost EP finding a respectable place in both Spotify’s United Kingdom Top 50 and iTunes’ Top 10 Indie charts, alongside another track from their back catalogue lined up for the Made in Chelsea soundtrack, it’s not bad going for a band that once off the cuff described themselves as ‘council pop-rap-rock’.
There are plans already underway to release second EP, with another festival also in the offing – this time a little closer to home, when The Assist will stand at the top of the Smirnoff Presents Saturday night bill at Sheffield’s three day Tramlines music event on 20th July.
So, it looks set to be another busy 12months for The Assist – but don’t just take out word for it…
Ed King caught up with The Assist lead singer, Mikey Stanton, a few hours before their single launch party at The Sunflower Lounge on Saturday 6th July – click on the video link below to see the full interview with Birmingham Review.
Interview with Mikey Stanton from The Assist @ The Sunflower Lounge 06.07.19
But alongside The Assist’s seemingly Faustian pack with the Devil of pop-rock melodies, beginning with the seductively bouncy croon of ‘Tell Her How You Feel’ back in 2016 and cemented with follow up singles ‘Wonderful’ and ‘Give it to Me’, their growing success comes down to graft. I guess being cherry picked by This Feeling to be the king-making promoter’s Band of the Month back in Feb 2017 would have helped add some national attention to the mix, but that kind of industry recognition doesn’t come without some serious groundwork.
Since forming in 2014, The Assist have thrown themselves into a touring schedule that would make many lesser rock-Gods-in-waiting curl up into the foetal position in the middle of the M1 – but one that has seen them appear alongside a staggering line up of luminaries, including the Happy Mondays, Blossoms, Black Honey, Ratboy and The Twang. And whilst most musical bucket lists would be pretty ticked off with those stage sharing credentials, The Assist’s list of accolades are only just beginning.
More on that later, as Birmingham Review will be catching up with The Assist to get all this from the horse’s mouth. Watch this space. But right now, there’s a more pressing matter than a litany of pats on the back and biography soundbites. On Friday 5th July, The Assist release their latest single – a 3min summer anthem that has FESTIVAL FEVER written all over it, ‘It’s Just a Dream Away’.
Vocalist, Mike Stanton, is arguably on his finest form yet – belting out the titular aspiration with a glorious Midlands twang. But with a tinge of Madchester also lurking in the background, this tempered pop rock power punch could be the ‘breakthrough single’ that every band considers selling a soul for. And with both the great and good of Radio 6 and a growing global fanbase behind them, the world is quite literally becoming more and more their playground.
Hailing from Miullingar in County Westmeath, Ireland, The Academic have been firmly embedding themselves into international tour circuits, radio playlists, and music media column inches (or whatever the digital equivalent is… URL rankings?) over the past couple of years.
Forming in 2013, started by school friends Craig Fitzgerald (vocals, guitar) and Dean Gavin (percussion), The Academic embraced Matt (guitar) and Stephen Murtagh (bass) and signed with Global Publishing in 2015 – releasing their debut single, ‘Different’, the same year they joined the media conglomerate that owns half the broadcasters in the UK. Or is it all of them, we lose track. But it wasn’t a bad move for a band who seem to sneeze out uber catchy indie rock, with strong and addictive melodies that scream the more credible end of RADIO FRIENDLY.
An easy win for ‘one to watch’ listicles, The Academic needed to follow up their post-signing momentum with an album and something to drag the rest of the musical landscape into their world. So, in a stroke of genius that sits somewhere between The Matrix and OK GO’s treadmill choreography, they did just that – releasing Tales from the Backseat in January 2018, and deconstructing the first new single from their debut LP using Facebook Live’s 10 second delay as an AV loop.
OK, perhaps the latter doesn’t sound that exciting. But click here or watch the video below and if you’re not laughing, clapping, or singing along by the end of it then you’re probably a bit dead on the inside. Sheer brilliance, sheer joy. Well done lads.
Joining The Academic at Mama Roux’s, and for just over half of their Good Karma Club UK tour dates, are Sea Girls – the indie rock four piece who are neither afraid of CAPITALS LETTERS or ‘apologetic about a bold chorus, especially one that can be sung in unison by thousands of fans together of all walks of life’.
But if you’ve got it then flaunt it, and Sea Girl’s lead singer, Henry Camamile, has the kind of honey dripped husky vocals that are hard to escape from. Plus, this is another band that can churn out tracks that bite down like a bulldog – for a good case study on this, check out Sea Girl’s latest single below, ‘Eat Me Whole’. If you need more, then you can skip your fingers over to that iTunes logo on your taskbar (other music sites are available) and grab a copy of Sea Girl’s latest EP, Heavenly War. Not a bad way to spend your bus fare.
Rounding off an already damn fine Sunday night, there will be a DJ set from Abbie McCarthy – the brains and brawn behind Good Karma Club, and the presenter of BBC Introducing Kent.
McCarthy often steps in for DJs on Radio One and is somewhat of a smarty-pants-know-it-all when it comes to solid, new music. So, having her behind the decks (or whatever the digital equivalent is…) at Mama Roux’s, as well as curating and promoting the gig, is a pretty wise idea.
‘Bear Claws’ – The Academic (deconstructed using Facebook Live)