A few months ago now, an old friend who I used to work with told me that after we had finished our shift that night, we needed to go to Telford’s Warehouse in Chester, and see a band live. Despite the fact we had both worked long shifts, and I wanted to go home, he would not take no for an answer, and I was almost forced to attend. With hindsight, I am glad I did not go home. I find a lot of great music is discovered this way, almost unwillingly.
The band I would see that night are known as The Reads, and they would change some of my misconceptions about good, quality music. I had always assumed that good music, contained heavy riffs, or off-beat drumming patterns, and a singer so uncontrolled and rampant, you could not quite make out what they were singing. The Reads however, are not anything like that. They are reserved, restrained, but in every way quality.
The band consists of a small ground of friends, from North Wales and Cheshire. After seeing them live, and repeatedly playing their music online, they seem to have some idea of what they’re about. Their debut album Stories From The Border does not falter or question itself as most debut albums do, instead it affirms a slow, melodic introduction which you cannot help but tap your feet to.
The audience that night, comprised mostly of hippies, drunks and mods. A fairly diverse crowd. One thing everybody did have in common, was some form of recognition that this band, this gang I had never heard before, had something about them. Something you couldn’t put your finger on, but a talent that you could not stop listening to. An easy to listen to guitar solo, modest vocals and quiet confidence that compelled you. Something a GCSE French student would call ‘je ne sais quoi.’
As of right now, The Reads have recently signed to a label, and are in the process of recording the difficult second album, which you can expect to be hearing this autumn. They’re going places then, you’ll be glad to hear. After speaking to another writer who contributes to AMBY, I was reassured that my quiet appreciation for the band was not uncommon. He described The Reads as ‘stunning soundscapes with intelligence in composition and execution,’ and I don’t think he’s far wrong.
Thankfully, my colleague did highlight the one area that for me, separates The Reads other bands. Their distinguishing factor, is their execution. Their music does not scream at you, it does not overwhelm you. At no point do The Reads ever become difficult to listen to. It does not shake you and force you into acceptance. Instead, The Reads gentle tones and overall warm mood charm you around, and if it can charm around an exhausted writer, a few baked hippies and some mods who were trying too hard to be cool I’m confident it can also charm you.
NB: If you don’t appreciate the guitar solo towards the end of Avalon, there is nothing more we can do for you.