NEON WALTZ are not the type of band to rest on their laurels. Just six months after releasing their sublime debut album Strange Hymns, the six-piece surprised everyone last week by dropping an unannounced EP featuring three previously unreleased tracks.
A rousing follow-up to the album, Bring Me To Light is the final chapter of an incredibly prosperous period for the band; a reflective yet uplifting sign-off to Strange Hymns and a carefully crafted gift to their dedicated fans. Headed up by one of the album’s main highlights, ‘Bring Me To Light’ is given the spotlight it deserves; driving forward at a pulse-quickening rate, the euphoric track features all of the qualities that could make it a festival anthem this summer in its shimmering keys and effortlessly catchy choruses.
As we reach the new material though, it’s easy to see why the collection has been released separately as its own body of work. Full of the dreamy heartfelt qualities that flowed through Strange Hymns, the four mesmerising tracks not only neatly tie everything together in a conclusive manner but they also feature some of the band’s most accomplished work.
Backed with echoing keys, the anthemic ‘Watch It Fade’ bears all the hallmarks of a classic Neon Waltz track with the addition of layered vocals and a prominent electric guitar. Soulful and luxuriant in equal measure, Jordan Shearer’s crystal clear vocals exude a hypnotic repetitiveness before the track soars off with crashing drums and swirling organ lines into a rapturous instrumental crescendo.
Throughout Strange Hymns, the six-piece proved they were more than capable of producing the kind of ambitious, anthemic sound that would exude mass appeal far beyond the reach of their hometown. However, this latest EP also shows them at their most delicate. Arguably the finest track on offer and one of their most beautiful ballads to date, ‘Schoolhouse’ has a charming simplicity that works wonderfully alongside its deeply evocative and thoughtful lyricism. Backed by the sounds of a sweet ice-cream van piano melody, Jordan Shearer bears an airy wistfulness as he sings of “living in denial” and “forcing a smile”. Adding depth and richness to the restrained arrangement, a rousing guitar signals the breakdown of the song. It’s a perfect example of the band’s effortless ability to find a sweet spot between the melancholic, reflective and comforting. Meanwhile, the slow and sparse ‘Enlightened By A Fall’ is a fitting end to the collection; clocking in at one minute and twenty seconds, it’s a moving finale to the Strange Hymns era.
Currently in the midst of a mammoth UK tour which is taking them around some of the UK’s most treasured and intimate venues, Neon Waltz have lived up to their reputation as one of the country’s most hardworking and prolific outfits. It makes you wonder why they are not playing to bigger crowds already with the level of material they have behind them. Not only a fitting conclusion, the Bring Me To Light EP stands alone as a stellar addition to their already fiercely impressive repertoire.