Review: Amber Run – 5AM

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In recent years, Nottingham has produced some of the music industry’s best new talent, from London Grammar and Dog is Dead to Saint Raymond and Jake Bugg. Amber Run, a five-piece indie pop group who met at the University of Nottingham, is the latest band to emerge from the city, and their debut album ‘5AM’ is something to behold.

The record, which was produced by Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Two Door Cinema Club, Foals), is an excellent showcase of Amber Run’s ability to produce anthems. Album opener ‘I Found’ is a pulsating track, which combines dark, powerful lyrics with bellowing, stripped-back harmonies, whilst “Spark” blends the indie folk vibes of Mumford & Sons with a Coldplay-esque piano and vocal arrangement, as the underlying guitar and drum beat explodes into action during the thunderous chorus.

Each track on the album is laden with hooks; the whirling guitar intro of ‘Hurricane’ leads into a clap-along anthem, which is begging to be chanted at a major music festival. Not to mention the euphoric sounds of ‘Noah’ and ‘Pilot’ and the funky tones of “Good Morning” (which bears undertones to The 1975’s ‘Chocolate’).

“Shiver” and title track ‘5AM’ provide a slower pace to the proceedings, brilliantly flaunting the natural rawness of Joe Keough’s vocals. The record also includes fan favourite ‘See You Soon’, an ode to the band’s hometown of Nottingham, and “Just My Soul Responding” – the brilliant first single to be taken from the album.

There’s a real cohesion, as each of the tracks almost seamlessly flows from one to the next, with the use of two short interludes (‘M.F.’ and ‘C.F.’) nicely holding the album together. With the right exposure, this is not just a possibility, more an inevitability.

Looking ahead to their next record, it’ll be interesting to see whether Amber Run opt to follow in the footsteps of Coldplay and produce a dance-pop album or continue to output indie pop. Whichever route they take, their follow-up will certainly be highly-anticipated, that’s for certain.