Album Review: Victories At Sea – Everything Forever

Everything Forever

victories at sea everything foreverReleased 30th October 2015

Words: Siôn Ford

Everything Forever is the full length debut from Birmingham trio Victories At Sea, a group that have won fans among the mainstream music outlets such as everybody’s favourite magazine to hate, NME, and Xfm. Whether or not that carries any importance is a different question altogether, and an irrelevant one too, really, as musings on the quality of this record shouldn’t be made based on their opinions.

Riding the wave of a revival in 1980s style music, Victories At Sea bring that style right to the fore with their songs as they echo a golden age of British youth culture. Unfortunately it’s not quite something they can fully replicate themselves – there’s something about them that lacks a bit of conviction. While they might be comparable to something along the lines of a 21st century equivalent of New Order (and I say that loosely), some of their songs show up where music has lost some of its grit in the past few decades.

 

Disappointingly, opening song, Bloom, sounds like the latest spin on a song you’ve heard countless times before from different bands with its laissez faire vocals and humdrum rhythms – it sounds like a song that’s destined to be used in a BBC Three youth drama.

 

Following that is Florentine, which does have a bit more about it than its predecessor, sounding like Foals played by a synth band – most definitely not a bad thing. This brief moment of quality though is short lived as the next track jumps back to the type of song that would be a mainstay at the house parties of teenagers, soundtracking the types of nights when you used to raid your mate’s parents’ booze: Up is a song that tries to be serious and energetic, but sounds naive and a bit petulant.

 

Queue the curveball in the form of On Your Own, a song that is pretty spectacular because (to my surprise) it does capture the spirit of 1980s British indie pop; it is what some might label as a ‘belter’. Although it sounds a bit brief, that plays to its strength as a genuine contender for a single; this is the song that will bring you back, getting played on repeat.

 

The token instrumental track DMC separates the fourth and sixth track, with the latter giving more cause for surprise to this reviewer – Poles Apart sounds like something that could’ve come out of The National’s songbook, but with a definitively British feel to it. While the album so far has been a mixed bag to listen to, this song reinforces something that can be said for the band in respect of all their songs: they must be a great live act. Sure, some of the songs sound a bit weak in this recorded format, but performed live and with the energy that this group have started displaying in this second half of the album, there’s no doubt in my mind they would do anything other than leave their all out on a stage.

 

Continuing this trend is Swim, a barnstormer that could be dubbed the band’s angry song – a sonic punch to the gut, this is the type of song that the album could have done with more of. At the risk of making my eat my own words, the album gets stronger as it nears its end, finding the fire that I mentioned earlier. which sounded as though it were missing since the likes of Hooky & co’s time in the sun came to an end. One of the tags on the group’s Soundcloud for this record is “darkwave” and while I’m not entirely sure what that means, Future Gold definitely feels like it belongs to that category with anthemic synth riffs cascading over drums that are taking an absolute kicking.

 

Keeping in line with the theme that’s been ever present in this review, the closing two tracks, Into the Fire and Sirens, embody the contrast in what’s good and what’s bad about this album: the former is a throwback to the earlier part of the album and is the kind of song that might blow your mind when you’re too young to know better, the latter is the direction which I would like to see Victories At Sea take their music in.

 

Overall this album is definitely not a bad one, but there are elements of it which really did not sit well which is a shame when the rest of the songs are taken into account. On this occasion though, they get the benefit of the doubt as this is only their debut full length release and, in spite of its faults, is an album that should be applauded.

Watch the video for Sirens here:

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