Album Review: Common Tongues – Divisions

common tonguesCommon Tongues – Divisions

Alternative | Art Rock

84%

The mark of a truly great band is the ability to blur the boundary between genres, something that Brighton quintet Common Tongues have pulled off with their debut album. Divisions is not simply many separate elements thrown together, it grows and evolves like a living thing. The music shifts and adapts its style like a cocky chameleon in front of a kaleidoscope, dabbling in everything from cascading electronica and soaring orchestral scores, to off-kilter alternative and laid-back folk. The band have really diversified since their earlier singles and it was a risk that has most certainly paid off. Divisions is an eclectic and compelling record that is hard to fault and easy to love given a few spins. My only issue is that it is a slow burner and takes time to appreciate. It lacks big “wow” moments to draw people in, though I’m sure it’s something the band are perfectly capable of on future releases.

Lead single ‘Pioneer’ begins in ordinary indie folk territory, building up with the swell of strings and intricate drum patterns, before really kicking off with ornate electronica and hints of Tame Impala inspired soundscapes. ‘Picture A Scene’ provides the album’s most expansive moments, punctuated by emotive bass lines, while ‘Dogs’ starts off with more stripped back folk territory. The most interesting dynamic of the record is the contrast between the gruff, passionate vocals and the soothing melodies and bright synths; perhaps most notable on album opener ‘New Moon’. It’s a combination you wouldn’t expect to work, but ends up coming across as quite unique and refreshing. There is a palpable sense of ease, a sense of a band perfectly in tune with what they are doing. Simply put, it’s got to be the strongest debut of the year.

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