Tag Archives: Prehistoric Friends

Albums of 2015 (10-1)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & EPs

2 Hector Bizerk - The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry10 Hector Bizerk – The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry

If there is one thing Hector Bizerk are always on hand to offer, it is something new and for the Glasgow hip-hop act it perhaps doesn’t get more boundary-pushing than writing the soundtrack for Crazy Jane, a play about a 19th-century Paris mental asylum. But that is exactly what The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is – an undeniably ambitious project, but one which the duo pull off magnificently. Throughout experimental sounds and true-to-form storytelling brilliance of Louie’s lyrics, the album manages to touch upon powerful imagery and serious mental health stigmas – this isn’t just a soundtrack for playing in the background of a stage play, it is a genuine work of art as a standalone album, which has a very clear and deep message. (Jay Henderson)

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10 CARBS - Joyous Material Failure9 CARBS – Joyous Material Failure [Save As]

Not quite a hip-hop record but far from anything else Joyous Material Failure is the creation of Jonnie Common and Jamie Scott released under the moniker CARBS. Consisting of slouchy beats and loose-tongued rapping the album’s subject matters range from Resident Evil, pizza and ice cream as the duo offer an insight into the millennial era by using witty puns that encourage listeners to chuckle though-out. (Jess Lavin)

9 Miaoux Miaoux - School of Velocity8 Miaoux Miaoux – School of Velocity [Chemikal Underground]

A bit disco, a bit techno, and more than a bit joyous electro-pop, Julian Corrie’s School of Velocity is nothing short of an incredible balancing act between simple, pure song writing and soaring, euphoric production. From hooks formed of towering synth stabs to its solid, but playful, underpinning grooves, School of Velocity perhaps surprises most in its impressive lyrical depth and ingenuity – an oft-maligned aspect of contemporary pop. It’s a progression not a revolution for Miaoux Miaoux, but is nonetheless a collection of ten more or less bulletproof tracks. School of Velocity is clever, but honest, and oh-so-easy to love. (Michael Mavor)

8 Poor Frisco - Sheep’s Clothing7 Poor Frisco – Sheep’s Clothing

Poor Frisco hail from East Kilbride, the very same unassuming west of Scotland town that brought us the great Jesus And Mary Chain and these guys are doing a fantastic job of carrying on the noisy pop gauntlet with Sheep’s Clothing. The melodies and harmonies are overtly pop, yet work so well with the interesting and sometimes angular guitar riffs. Sheep’s Clothing has elevated Poor Frisco into real contenders for most exciting band in the city; every track brings something new to the table while maintaining the rough charm that only Poor Frisco can pull off. (Andy McGonigle)

7 Errors - Lease of Life6 Errors – Lease of Life [Rock Action]

Everything from glittering arpeggios to mythical, almost Celtic nuances, each track of Lease of Life is unique, but they all share an ethereal quality. Yet much of what features is reminiscent of 80s new wave, echoing Soft Cell and Depeche Mode. There’s something very solid and secure about each track on this album, making it a truly accomplished piece of art. (Rachel Cunningham)

6 C Duncan - Architect5 C Duncan – Architect [FatCat]

Representing Scotland in the 2015 Mercury Prize, C Duncan brings a surprisingly original, dreamy and warm vision of the country through the bedroom window. Fittingly, Architect feels physically crafted and while the modern indie and pop influences are evident, it is Duncan’s atavism, channeling Palestrina and the choral origins of written western music, that defines his sound and make Architect the most intriguing and incongruous of Scottish releases. (Liam Gingell)

5 Prehistoric Friends - Prehistoric Friends4 Prehistoric Friends – Prehistoric Friends [Yetts Yeti]

Multi-instrumentalist Liam Chapman and violist Nichola Kerr’s self-titled debut album comes with bold choruses, dynamic instrumentals, heartfelt vocals and an overall atmospheric sound. The album, which was released as a limited number of handcrafted fossil plaster casts with a download code hidden inside, is just as unique as the format it was released on. (Jess Lavin)

4 Ela Orleans - Upper Hell3 Ela Orleans – Upper Hell [HB]

Upper Hell saw Orleans temporarily move away from the “movies for ears” tagline and the result is a collection of strong songs that stand together in a coherent structured LP. Upper Hell bounces around in a more confident manner; it’s still slightly cold, but here it’s more ceramic than icy. The cinematic narrative is defined, but the thread linking the songs results in the feeling of watching a high definition version rather than an old 35mm print; highly emotive and highly deserving of the praise it received.

3 Best Girl Athlete - Carve Every Word2 Best Girl Athlete – Carve Every Word [Fit Like]

Katie Buchan, aka Best Girl Athlete, saw her debut album, Carve Every Word, never leave the teenager short of praise. The album itself perfectly shows that, although she is young, Buchan can write powerful and intriguing tracks, which showcase emotional depth both lyrically and musically. Carve Every Word is a beautifully crafted album that can be listened to repeatedly and guarantees success will continue on from 2015.

1 Hudson Mohawke - Lantern1 Hudson Mohawke – Lantern [Warp]

For a record that seems stylistically and tonally to be all about confounding expectations, Lantern fulfills those aspirations and just keeps pushing. With evident influences from Mohawke’s immensely heterogeneous background in the very disparate worlds of EDM and rap production, Lantern is an expertly formed demonstration of invigorating, no holds barred electro-pop… and yet can’t be summarised by that alone. The record as a whole possesses an edge of experimentation and is certainly no stranger to risk in its construction, but still manages to remain astonishingly enjoyable from commencement to conclusion. (Michael Mavor)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & EPs

Prehistoric Friends (album launch), eagleowl at The Hug and Pint, 23/10/15

After our struggle to find somewhere to eat in the West End on a Friday night, we arrive at The Hug and Pint slightly later than originally planned therefore sadly missing Dave Frazer and only catching the end of eagleowl’s set.

What we catch of eagleowl is extremely entertaining as the band showcase a number of tracks each as sublime and timeless as each other.

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The room is packed out tonight for the launch of Prehistoric Friends’ long-awaited debut and self-titled album, which is on sale tonight as a download code placed in a handmade fossil – a lovely and unique touch.

Prehistoric Friends is the project of multi-instrumentalist Liam Chapman (Friends in America, Miaoux Miaoux, Supermoon and the rest) and Glasgow Chamber Orchestra’s Nichola Kerr.

Tonight they are joined by their live band – Julian Corrie (Miaoux Miaoux) and Joe Rattray, Louis Abbot (Admiral Fallow) and are tightly squeezed on the venue’s small stage along with a number of plants.

The lack of space doesn’t hold the band back as they deliver a set full of gliding strings, dreamy vocals and chiming synth, which create an overall atmospheric and truly captivating sound.

Highlights include first single ‘Bermuda Triangle’ and new song ‘Being Human, Human Being’ – an upbeat track that the crowd is encouraged to dance along to, but “not too much, you might fall over! As there’s so many of you!” Kerr chimes in – a comment that truly shows just how busy tonight’s venue is.

Prehistoric Friends certainly know how to put on a show and their attention to detail certainly pays off tonight – if you ever get the chance to see this band live please make the effort to.

More Photos

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Words: Jess Lavin
Photos: Paul Storr

Prehistoric Friends – Prehistoric Friends [Yetts Yeti]

Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore LP can’t help but cast a long shadow over Prehistoric Friends’ (similarly self-titled) debut record.

On second album Bon Iver, Justin Vernon escaped the myth of the man who escapes to a log cabin and writes suitably introspective and haunting music; instead, on his second effort, Vernon embraced a range of diverse styles, most strikingly on ‘Beth/Rest’, which veered towards an appropriation of 80s adult contemporary music tropes with no apparent trace of irony.

Prehistoric Friends is somewhere near this diversion of folk-rock towards the kitsch of 80s synthpop, closer ‘Skeleton Key’ the sparkling ballad that serves as the climax to the record. The feelings-on-sleeve, majestic, sober indie pop of the rest of the album finds a place of rest in ‘Skeleton Key’’s soft pinnacle, Liam Chapman’s tenor sailing brittlely on the top of the instrumentation.

As on Bon Iver, Chapman’s melodies are best when they wander unexpectedly, reminiscent of the deft craftsmanship on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.

The record is passionately earnest; fully wallowing in the exaggerated peaks in songs, in the transformation within songs from contained casiotone drum sounds to fully blown cymbal crashes.

The presence of violist Nichola Kerr lends a deep, sombre quality to the tracks that counteracts the boyish tones of Chapman’s voice.

Lyrically, Chapman doesn’t shy away from anything that is too sincere; “I’ll remember the dream” vows Chapman on ‘Bermuda Triangle’, while insisting that “you will find the strength hidden there” on ‘Skeleton Key’.

In an interview with this website, Chapman voiced concerns with drawing the line of what was to be deemed too personal to even share with Kerr; yet Chapman fits into a trend of artists (Drake, How to Dress Well) whose sincerity appears to be a response to postmodern disavowal and ironic disengagement, returning unrestrained feeling into pop.

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Words: Tony Boardman

Doune The Rabbit Hole, 23/8/15

Sunday at Doune and we’ve found a touch of familiarity about the site, only today it seems to be filled with yellow as Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 closing things tonight and their fans seem to engulf the festival site in what could resemble a cult if you weren’t aware a silly, fun-times band were at the centre of it.

Still our day starts with food, and the food at Doune is the best you’ll eat at any festival; I opt for the French toast with bacon and maple syrup for breakfast, while Jess turns up with the most colourful breakfast roll I’ve ever witnessed containing; egg, smoked salmon and avocado.

Indeed today is full of indulgence in the food department, from barbeque salmon, to beer roasted brisket and plenty of veggie alternatives too it’s a joy to have this many options at a festival of this size.

The Shithawks-2

For the music my day starts in the Baino tent, as The Shithawks deliver a loud, fast rock ‘n’ roll assault on the those that have hit the darkened tent in the blissful early afternoon sunshine.

When the Dundee act hit their groove it’s powerfully engaging stuff, if a bit overwhelming for those trying to ease themselves out of a Sunday morning hangover.

Still, there’s plenty to dance as The Shithawks’ funk enthused basslines and infectious garage punk vocals, along with a never giving rhythm get things moving early on; it’s powerful stuff; could maybe have done with being a couple of bevvy’s down the line though and I don’t remember them having Aussie accents last time I saw them.

Prehistoric Friends-6

Following the riotous start we find a nice spot to the side of the Jabberwocky stage in preparation for Prehistoric Friends.

Even through the majority of the crowd remain seated (except an the young woman performing yoga with her daughter near the front of the stage – you wouldn’t see this at any other festival) it’s clear they’re enjoying not only the beautiful weather, but also the atmospheric dream-pop coming from the stage.

Originally a duo Liam Chapman and Nichola Kerr are joined by a full band, allowing Chapman to showcase his enchanting vocals.

Prehistoric Friends’ lush synth based tones on a sunny day are the perfect remedy for a hangover and a highlight of the weekend.

Halfrican-4

Moving back to the Baino tent for something extremely different – Halfrican pack a punch as their powerhouse guitar pop shakes you awake.

Their performance is high pace, energetic and intense, but much like The Shithawks feels like it’s in too early a slot.

Nevertheless, it is clear the trio are enjoying themselves as they bounce around the stage in their matching outfits and the crowd clearly share the feeling as the beat drives the performance forward, allowing Sancho Buna’s cheeky sneered vocals to shine, a few even decide to go ‘taps aff’.

Tuff Love-2

Back at the Jabberwocky stage is Tuff Love, whose soft harmonies soaring over fuzzy guitars are as effortlessly vibrant as ever.

Their set is minimalistic, but mind-blowing and even through Suse Bear and Julie Eisenstein come as slightly shy, their music speaks for them gripping your attention and not letting it go.

Tuff Love are an extremely tight live band and deliver 45 minutes of grunged up pop goodness, which draws even the weariest of punters down to the front for a little dance.

C Duncan-5

Next on the Jabberwocky stage is the much talked about C Duncan and this was my first chance to catch him in a live setting and I’m not disappointed as his set seems perfectly suited for the early evening sunshine, as each track seems to seeks out the disappearing rays with fresh and lovely harmonies.

The general comparison Duncan seems to be receiving is to that of early Fleet Foxes, and it’s easy to see why as the gentle builds and lulling vocal style do posses an endearing campfire quality; a truly charming way to spend the sun’s descent.

Be Charlotte-11

I’ve heard good things about Be Charlotte over the last couple months and with Hector Bizerk’s own Audrey Tait on board I’m extremely excited to see what young Charlotte Brimner has to offer.

Brimner breaks the boundaries of what it means to be a singer-songwriter as not only does she sing, but also shows her true musicianship as she raps and plays while still managing to ooze bags of swagger, however Brimner’s voice is what really strikes you, as not only is it completely stunning, but utilised to its full potential, showcasing her unique tone and technical ability.

Them Beatles-1

Then it’s the cheery fun festival finale back at the Jabberwocky stage as Them Beatles pull out their best psychedelia era Beatles attire, hit character and transport you back to the 60s for a set of sing-along fun.

It’s charming stuff, as they delivery an array of favourites in the most convincing fashion you’ll see; tribute acts might not be for everyone, but if you’re going to see one it may as well be Them Beatles.

Before the drive back to Glasgow for the ever-daunting Monday morning in work, I manage to catch a few minutes of the experimental, avant-garde, free jazz stylings of Death Shanties from under the big tree, and while their music takes some accustoming to it deservedly pulls a crowd.

Saxophonist Sybren Renema is situated in the tree with drummer Alex Neilson powering out franticly engrossing drums from the floor below, it’s attention grasping stuff and the ideally bizarre way to end a very special festival.

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Words: Iain Dawson/Jess Lavin
Photos: Bill Gray

Prehistoric Friends – ‘Wisdom Tooth’

Prehistoric Friends is the project of Liam Chapman (Miaoux Miaoux/Friends In America) along with violist Nichola Kerr and their description of the project, as ‘organ & viola driven atmospheric casio-tone/dream-pop’, saves explaining new single ‘Wisdom Tooth’ and near enough writes this review.

The gentle introduction sets the scene for an amazingly pleasant piece of music, which it is easy to lose yourself in, through the mesmerising fluctuating keyboard and viola sounds.

Calming vocals and layers and layers of sound merge together to make something extremely pleasant on the ears, both the quality of song and production of this release are stellar.

With an album set for release in the spring, this single (to be launched on the 18th of this month) is hopefully a sign of things to come.

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Words: Neil Hayton

Prehistoric Friends – ‘Bermuda Triangle’

Prehistoric Friends is the solo project of Scottish multi-instrumentalist Liam Chapman and violinist Nichola Kerr and together they have created ‘Bermuda Triangle’, a dreamy pop song containing more sunshine than this Scottish summer.

The track kicks off with a tranquil and sedate strings intro, then swings into action on a solid foundation of drums and shakers.

Liam Chapmans airy vocals and inspiring lyrics succeed in lifting the tune to another level, singing songs of hope and fulfilment.

Prehistoric Friends have created a smooth on-the-rocks pop track, reminiscent of a Stevie Nicks fronted Fleetwood Mac and this is but a taster of their promising and meaningful self titled album, Prehistoric Friends.

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Words: Malik Fernandez

Mutual Benefit, Seoul, Prehistoric Friends at Mono, 21/5/14

You’d be forgiven for having only just having latched on to Mutual Benefit, it’s very unlikely his music reached much of Glasgow before latest album Love’s Crushing Diamond had a mini explosion causing it to be one of, it not the biggest success of the bandcamp releasing generation.

Tonight it’s the quaint open and frankly charming spaces of Mono that hosts the at times cringingly awkward yet at others alarmingly beautiful act.

However before Jordan Lee and his band take the stage there’s time for local lo-fi pop merchants Prehistoric Friends to have a shot.

The duo turned full band create a whimsical and settling atmosphere as Liam Chapman tries his luck from the front rather than behind the kit, and looks quite at home doing it.

The band is still in its infancy but there’s an array of talent within their ranks and the twinkling charms of single ‘Bermuda Triangle’ have us eager to hear more.

Montreal boys Seoul are up next and they up the tempo a touch, they’re listed as ‘ambient pop’ but they have the most foot tapping elements of the night.

They’re energetic, fun and full of promise; there’s a reason why there’s a deal of enthusiastic comments about these guys circling the web, we’ll be looking out for them in future.

Jordan Lee is clearly over the moon about Mutual Benefit taking off and seems equally enthused by his surroundings; gig venue, bar, food, book and record shop, Mono has it all.

On stage the short and chirpy Lee chats with the crowd plenty but doesn’t really comes across as comfortable in his own skin until he lets the music do the talking.

And when the music is allowed to take centre stage it certainly does, Mutual Benefit may not be devastatingly out of the ordinary in terms of what they do, the format of the songs are fairly simple, but the sheer beauty that Lee and his band manage to conjure is nothing short of impressive.

It appears tonight they’ve fallen on their feet, Mono is perfect venue for this sort of sound, the set is laid back, melancholic and warm, I guess the only thing missing is a log fire to sit round.

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Beth Chalmers

Prehistoric Friends Interview

Prehistoric Friends is the personal project of multi-instrumentalist and multiple band member Liam Chapman and Glasgow Chamber Orchestra violist Nichola Kerr; along with a whole host of ultra-talent musicians making up their live line up.

With their debut single ‘Bermuda Triangle’ set for release I caught up with Chapman for a quaint wee chat over couple of burgers at the Rio Cafe; of course the single has now been released after what sounds like a successful show at The Old Hairdressers on Saturday.

The charming lo-fi synth pop of the single was the first thing of Prehistoric Friends Rave Child was exposed to and there’s plenty of the man behind it in the music; it is part of a forthcoming self-titled album in which Chapman has laid his heart bare.

Chapman does note that the record being so personal has had a few close friends labeling it ‘cheesy’ (indeed Chapman’s description “is a musical projection of my soul” would be fitting with this), however it’s safe to say with the team he assembled to put it together that someone would have said something if it’s a step too far in terms of cringeworthlyness.

He’s the first to admit he’s scared of what people may think of the album, especially with it being so personal: “sometimes I would be afraid to even show Nichola what I had written as there was a fine line of it being too cringey.”

Still, it’s recorded, mixed, mastered and ready to be picked up by a label: “I’ve sculpted individually written lovely emails to 30 or so lovely labels who’d be nice to be involved with; perhaps their fingers are too frozen with awe to reply,” Chapman jokes, of course while the modest Chapman remains hopefully it will get picked up, he assures us it will be release later this year no matter what.

“It’s an eight-track collection of the songs I had written between living in Yetts O’ Muckhart and Glasgow; a blend of heart-felt, warm, atmospheric dream-pop songs, combined with zany 80s pop elements; touching on themes of healing, dreams, questioning of existence and soul transportation.

“It is definitely a cohesive ‘whole’ and is a wee relic to me.”

The album was recorded with Andrew Pattie and co-producer Gavin Thompson (grnr) at Pattie’s home studio, South Sounds, in Autumn last year and the duo also helped out instrumentally on the record:

“It was a joy to work with the guys, the collaboration of Andrew’s organic technique and desire to record all of the sounds and takes naturally, creating a human feeling along with Gav’s experience in electronic production and array of knowledge in gear and plug-ins was a winner.”

It seems Chapman makes a habit of surrounding himself with super-talented individuals, he himself is a functioning part of Friends In America, Quickbeam and Miaoux Miaoux as well as playing in Frances McKee’s live band, and the Prehistoric Friends line up consists of bassist Joe Rattray (Admiral Fallow), guitarist/synthist Julian Corrie (Miaoux Miaoux) and drummer Andrew Truscott (The Seventeenth Century), not forgetting Kerr.

Still, he’s eager to point out that these guys are his friends and their talent enhances the Prehistoric Friends experience, but they’re not what could be considered a gimmicky ‘super group’:

“I wouldn’t want to use my own friends as a gimmick (as magic as they are) because we are trying to do our own thing.

“I wanted to assemble the musicians who I know are lovely people and reliable as well as super-talented, because we all enjoy each others company, there’s a really friendly good vibe and no awkwardness when we play together… I think.”

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Of course Kerr, who met Chapman while playing in Quickbeam and became one of his best friends in the space of a day, being the only other permanent band member is really important to how Prehistoric Friends works.

“I love her viola (not violin) playing; it contributes a hearty and folk element to blend with the warm organ tones.

“We had a good musical working relationship and a shared passion for the 80s, which developed from writing instrumentals to creating dream pop songs with vocals and lyrics, which became Prehistoric Friends.”

It’s clearly important to Chapman that this band are considered in their own right rather than a sum of their parts and although the project has been born out of tradition and super Scottish surroundings (“in the countryside, up a hill, in Yetts o’ Muckhart”) he’s keen for them to not be tied down by their nationality.

“I like to think of ourselves as a band from Scotland rather than a Scottish band; not to disregard it in any way as we love the Scottish music scene and our involvement in it but I’ve been slogging hard at it for years and I want to be open to new opportunities and adventures.”

What Prehistoric Friends promises is something a little removed from the array of bands Chapman is involved with already, if only a little.

His output with his other bands isn’t entirely all in the same box, the upbeat electronics of Miaoux Miaoux couldn’t be further from the guitar pop of Friends in America for example, but it’s not easy to stop influences leaking through, however the majority of influence flowing through Prehistoric Friends comes from Chapman’s own background.

He openly admits that there may be hints of Capercaillie, Fleetwood Mac and Bruce Hornsby scattered through the album but these aren’t anywhere near the leading elements of the Casiotone heavy record with a strong root of pop/rock with dashes of folk, shoegaze and some samba and calypso for good measure:

“I’m very open minded to music and just discover things myself without having too much of an influence from a scene.

“Everything I write is very heartfelt because it’s the only way I can do it, which I guess could relate to the idea of folk, but we don’t sound like a traditional group.”

And what of the name? It may be a disappointment to some that Prehistoric Friends doesn’t contain one hint of Jurassic Park, and indeed Chapman seems fed up of the constant questions about dinosaurs his band’s name prompts:

“I feel the word ‘friends’ can also used to describe genuine “things” as well as humans and that it’s important to preserve tradition and remember where we come.

“With everything constantly moving forwards and developing so quickly in the modern mass-consumer world, I worry that these ‘relics’ will be forgotten and become extinct so I feel it’s important to acknowledge and carry forward old ways, manners, stories and history, hence ‘prehistoric’.

“Basically, I’d rather look back knowing I was a human in the world rather than seeing a glowing blue ‘F’ before my eyes close.”

At Rave Child the first thing we considered wasn’t dinosaurs (that’s a lie, it totally was!), but as Chapman is also a member of Friends in America the possibility of a Prehistoric Friends In America split and possible pitch as a potential movie title, obviously with literal meaning this time, appealed vastly to us.

Chapman doesn’t seem opposed to the idea either (the split, not necessarily the movie) and he’s open in his admiration of FiA vocalist Matthew Rawlings’ lyrical skills.

Still, it’s early days for that, the debut Prehistoric Friends single is just out and the video, shot by the lovely Beth Chalmers who’s worked with Rave Child before, premiered on The Skinny last week, a video that Chapman seems chuffed with after having so much fun doing it:

“The video was so much fun, although we travelled round the whole universe to film it, just Beth, Nichola, Walt the Skeleton and I with a metal detector.

“We went to two quarries, the Botanics, my mum’s pond, book shops and the fantastical Titan Props.

“There’s some footage of Nichola metal detecting my face while I was sleeping that unfortunately didn’t get used.”

The video fills a new role within the song and hints at discovery and exploring new paths in life: “it’s a message to myself that I will get to where I want to be eventually.”

“‘Bermuda Triangle’ focuses on the fact that I never dream (or remember my dreams anyway) when I sleep; however, I think I do all my dreaming while I’m awake.”

“So, there are subtle hints of little props and trinkets within the film that link with this theme (look out for the uncanny burned hole in the ocean on the globe!).

“Overall, it’s daft and goofy, overacted, bad hair-cutted, action packed and full of gems but at the same time, there are some really endearing moments and beautifully shot scenes, in a way, I’d like to think this mirrors our music.”

Words: Iain Dawson