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Review: 'EQUATORIAL GROUP, THE'
'Apricity'   

-  Label: 'Self Released'
-  Genre: 'Alt/Country' -  Release Date: '25th May 2018'

Our Rating:
Summers in the high season tend to be overrated in my view. Who needs the stress of overcrowded beaches, the pain of sunburn or the tackiness of souvenir shops? The cover of this fine debut album presents one alternative. The grainy shot shows a deserted landscape with coastal cliffs seen through the mist in the background.

Its more than happenstance therefore that this record takes its title from a word meaning "warmed by the sun in Winter" and although it was recorded in the English seaside town of Eastbourne this is not a record that celebrates beach entertainments or amusement arcades.

Instead, a recurring theme of the ten songs is faltering romance and the resultant failing relationships. This is exemplified in one of the most affecting tracks, Farewell My Lovely, which captures that aching void couples feel when the first spark of love has faded: "Baby we're out of time, we've been treading water, maybe we'll make it next time".

Helen Weeks' delicate, wistful vocals have faint echoes of Emma Pollock from The Delgados so, even when she sings "I'm doing just fine" on Juggernauts, you know full well this is just her putting a brave face on things.

Weeks also plays pedal steel guitar to give the songs a plaintive alt.country feel but, although there are traces of cowboy music here and there (notably on Motorbikes), theirs is an unmistakably English take on Americana.

Bassist Dave Davies writes and sings on a couple of tracks - Surrogate Funeral and Those Dudes. His gruff voice comes as a shock on first hearing but actually makes for a nice contrast to the female perspective and reminds the listener that boys feel heartache too.

The quiet, understated quality of this record means that it only really gives up its gold after two or three listens. Those locked into the accelerated culture seeking immediate satisfaction will doubtless skip to something sunnier and sexier but this will be their loss.

The Equatorial Group at Bandcamp
  author: Martin Raybould

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EQUATORIAL GROUP, THE - Apricity