It’s hard to write a piece on the North East that isn’t flavoured by all the negative stereotypes that the lager-loving types that fill Newcastle’s Saint James’ Stadium each week bring, but the task is becoming easier. For the MySpace generation, The Futureheads were the first real taste of music from the region with their sugary, neon take on indie pop, and since then there ghas been a healthy stream of bands moving from the local scene onto the national stage with varying degrees of success. Kubichek! may have never really made it off the ground, but Maximo Park have carved a successful career for themselves, something that looks likely for upstarts Frankie & the Heartstrings after they signed to Witchita. Everything Everything may be grabbing more headlines, but along with recently featured Mammal Club, Holy Mammoth are proving the region’s strength in depth.
Originally called Catweasels, they’ve since moved through a variety of monikers before settling on their current name. Thankfully, they’ve been much more precise in putting together a sound, with their demo recordings showcasing the band’s noise with an ‘as live’ feel – near certainly done in one take to fulling capture their talent at it’s purest. If this were three scenesters strumming hopelessly on detuned guitars, the four tracks would instantly be labelled lo-fi, but there’s much more to them than that, and the recordings proving that they’re accomplished musicians. Their tendency to mix dizzying, guitar heavy rackets with slower moments are something close to the combustible pop of Johnny Foreigner but with jagged edges replaced by intrigue, but with none of the urgency lost. the songs themselves are mainly instrumental affairs, experimental, expansive post rock affairs lightly garnished with the occasional peppering of tender vocals.
Despite their efforts being relatively lengthy compared to most of their contemporaries (the shortest track is 3 minutes 55 seconds long), they remain engaging throughout with a layered depth being core to their sound. Reports of outstanding live performances are far from surprising, and it shouldn’t be too long before promoters from further afield are putting them on.