Birmingham is known as England’s “Second City” – it’s a sprawling, diverse place, which has given us such gifts as Black Sabbath, Jeff Lynne and The Moody Blues. A more recent product of the city are electro-pop outfit Victories At Sea, whose debut album ‘Everything Forever’ reflects the unique aesthetic of the second city itself; it’s a record which blends old and new – crisp production values and flashes of experimentation contrast with throwback vocal styles and rhythm sections to produce a work which feels fresh yet familiar.

The album opens in a decidedly positive manner, with opening track ‘Bloom’ setting the tone for a record full of smart synth melodies, soaring choruses and retro sensibilities.

 

There can be a tendency to make electronic based music painfully modern – with focus on production techniques and sampling nous rather than actual song writing craft. Victories At Sea seem to have struck a happy balance here, with ‘DMC’ acting as a pivot point between the more retro feel of the first half of the album and the sleeker, more modern take on electro-pop to be heard in the second half.

Again, it mirrors the duality of the city the band hails from: Birmingham’s gritty, industrial past is juxtaposed now by its dazzling future – a brand new train station is a definite highlight, and the bullring looks like a huge disco ball. It may seem nugatory to make such comparisons between band and home city but really the place a band comes from is massively important in their identity which stays with them throughout their career, and to find parallels between the two, even only at a purely aesthetic level, is hugely satisfying and usually a sign of a band who are not only very conscious of their roots but also musically mature enough to let such extraneous factors bleed into their sound, even if by accident.

Everything Forever’ serves as an overdue reminder about what’s really to love about good, honest, British electro-pop; they’re a band reminiscent of Erasure and Depeche Mode at their finest, but with a fantastic modern touch which blends old with new and creates a well rounded sound – a confident first effort from the boys from Birmingham.

Everything Forever’ sees release October 30th on Static Caravan Recordings

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