The Family Crest – The War: Act I
Baroque Pop | Indie Rock
It’s an oft-repeated mantra on this site that the saddest music is often the most beautiful, and a quick look back at some of our highest rated albums seems to back this up. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of happy beautiful music in the world, and the kaleidoscopic new record from The Family Crest is a prime example. This record is just so full of life, so immediate and vibrant that it’s temptation is almost impossible to resist. Epic Eastern inspired opener ‘To Love You’ has all the grandeur and intrigue of ‘Kashmir’ and Liam McCormick’s vocals here are truly astounding. ‘Take Tonight’ feels like a more playful version of Arcade Fire’s ‘Wake Up’, while ‘Never Gonna Stop’ is one of the most addictive singles of the year. The unrelenting march of retro synths on ‘Waiting Still’ makes a great change of scenery, and the galloping drums of ‘The Mighty Echo’ really stand out as an album highlight.
As great as this album is, it could quite easily have been a lot better. There are a fair few filler tracks, particularly in the latter half of the album, and as the band released their Prelude To War EP prior to the album itself, I feel like those tracks would have made a far better addition to the record rather than being cast aside in favour of weaker material. The addition of songs like ‘Sparks’ and ‘Mirror Love’ could have made this one of the stand-out albums of the year. As an album it has issues with pacing and editing, but as a work of art the ornate orchestral arrangements and addictive pop sensibilities are enough to inject some much-needed colour into your day. It’s rare that sequels live up to the original, but here’s hoping Act II builds on the successes of the first instalment of The War and offers just that little push needed to make the classic album that The Family Crest are clearly capable of.