Review: Amber Run – 5AM


A promising debut with ample emotive messages.

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Hailing from Nottingham, a brewing place for many established and upcoming talents, Amber Run have been making the rounds for a while now, and have finally dropped their debut album 5AM. Produced by Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Two Door Cinema Club, Foals), the record has a total of 12 songs including two interludes, featuring fan favourites that appeared on earlier EPs to brand new material.

It has been a while since I have listened to an album with interludes. They can be tricky to master, but the first interlude proved to work when it provides a seamless transtition bridging the widely acclaimed opening track ‘I Found’ and ‘Spark. It serves as a brief breath after the harmonious and poetic ‘I Found’, before the album eases into the anthemic ‘Spark’. Anthemic vitality is a key feature of Amber Run and can be heard across various tracks such as ‘Noah’ (and ‘Heaven’ if you go for the deluxe version of the album).

‘Pilot’ is the continue the bands tight layers of instruments and vocals. The prominent drum beats from the beginning lay the ground work for the track and when the impeccable harmonies roll in; the beat and rhythm controlled tempo releases energy that is abundant from their live performance. ‘Good Morning’ is a relatively upbeat track and the bass stuck out to me, personally I think this could be a potential good live number.

Amber Run has the quality of seeping emotions through your eardrums through their impeccable vocal deliveries, and their poetic, metaphorical lyrics. ‘Just My Soul Responding’ features the lyrics: “and it’s just my soul responding to the heavy heart I’m holding, and it’s just my soul responding to the love you took from me” which are a great example of these poetic lyrics.

The album is full of familiar tracks from their EPs, but they are no doubt good ones to be put into the album; the reworked version of ‘Noah’ still has the same appeal, if not only better than before. The already released tracks are the backbone of the album, but the new tracks show the exploration and experimentation in scope.

At a time when almost too much is shelved under the generic title of: indie genre, what sets Amber Run apart is their determination and passion. They managed to weave intricate layers of vocals and instruments into a very appealing structure. They put thoughts into their intriguing music videos with excellent twist in the tales,  creating a symbol for each song to drum up discussions prior to the release of their album. It is this thoughtfulness that gave us insight into how much love the band have for their creations.

Having spoken with Amber Run last November before they even announced the release date of the album, frontman and vocal Joe Keogh told us “we wanna give it [the debut album]the best opportunity, because we spent years writing it, we spend all of our money, we loved it, all the songs on it, so why wouldn’t we try to be ambitious and see how far it can go!”

From this very promising debut I can affirm that Amber Run are indeed “only gonna get better”.

5am is out now via RCA Records.


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tea & coffee fueled lifetime music fanatic and avid gig lover

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