Every so often, a new band comes along and makes ripples through sheer musical magnificence; so good that no one can quite believe it. Amber Run listeners will have expected a lot from their debut album, and they won’t be disappointed. The album, 5AM, was pushed forward by a week, so that everyone who is going to the tour has time to listen to it. A lot of the songs that make up the backbone of the album have been floating around for a while, but come together with those that are new to form a record that fits together very effectively.
The album opens with ‘I Found’, a song which balances peaceful, almost monastic singing with impassioned lyrics, exposing delirious emotions. ‘I found love where it wasn’t supposed to be/ Right in front of me/ Talk some sense to me’, pushes forth feelings of confusion and a deep, intuitive understanding of what the song is about, even if you can’t articulate it. I remember seeing this song played live for the first time on the band’s tour in 2014, and being overwhelmed by how beautiful it is melodically, and that remains my main impression of it.
I remember seeing this song played live for the first time on the band’s tour in 2014, and being overwhelmed by how beautiful it is melodically
An interlude leads nicely into old favourite ‘Spark’, which could be described as an archetypal AR song, as its uplifting characteristics and inspiring lyrics pervade most of the remainder of the record. Hurricane follows suit, followed by the song ‘Noah’, re-mastered for the record, but still brilliant: ‘My name is Judas and my hands are tied/ and even my presence is a warning sign/ that wherever you go and whatever you do/ your past will always follow you’. Potentially some of the most resonant words written appear in this song, along with ‘Good Morning’, which instantly reveals itself to be a summer soundtrack staple, with a bridge that soars.
‘Just My Soul Responding’ returns to Amber Run’s other field of expertise: sad yet passionate music about heartbreak and loss, but I think their mastery of this is most evident on the title track, ‘5AM’, a delicately melancholy song, with lyrics that slowly build and reach a new height of expression.
The final track, ‘See You Soon’, is a confident sign-off, and I can really imagine the band closing a set with this track. With a mix of songs, ranging between the very sad to the euphoric, Amber Run have covered the whole spectrum, without losing their constantly heartfelt core. You definitely need to hear this album.