NIEVES is a four piece from Glasgow who released their debut self-titled EP in late 2014 (featuring the great ‘Straight Line’) and now, after racking up another EP and a sell-out show at King Tut’s, they are back with their debut album.
For a record that billed itself as indie-folk, tracks like ‘(You Will) Change’ and ‘A Beginning, A Middle’ have all the subtlety of a rocket propelled grenade.
The former sounds rather like a Celtic Coldplay with a reverb-soaked vocal, weighty piano chords and a huge climax, while the latter is sleek electro flecked rock with portentous lyrics straight from U2’s nineties reinvention.
For better or worse, the songs on Exist and Expire have been buffed and burnished until they are sleek and gigantic, carried along by driving piano.
When this works – the processed drums and piano of the imperious title track – the band sound unstoppable, when it doesn’t – or the songcraft takes a turn for the generic –Exist and Expireis less successful.
The most apt comparison might be Fatherson, another band who started out channelling folkish intimacy but delivered an album which, while strong on its own merits, sacrificed subtlety on the altar of delivering a record that blew their songs up to the size of a super tanker.
With a mix of personal insights and narrative pieces, there is a nice variety to the songwriting and the group are clearly tight musicians, but a little intimacy wouldn’t go amiss.
Sadly there is no room for ‘Straight Line’ or their other great single ‘Broken Oars’ here, but for fans of Frightened Rabbit, Coldplay or The National, NIEVES certainly have something to offer.
Words: Max Sefton