Reviews

Rook and The Ravens


Rook and The Ravens

Established in 2007 whilst studying in Liverpool, Rook and The Ravens have been releasing melodic, hook laden indie pop ever since. Corralled around the three-part harmony triumvirate of brothers Joe (guitar) and James Fay (lead guitar) with Tom Cartledge (keys, guitars), the quintet is completed by rhythm section David Brodie (bass guitar, keys, harmonica) and John Bernard Major (drums, percussion, keys).

Songwriting duties are shared evenly between James’s horizonless commitment to universal storytelling themes and Tom’s unflinching forensic dramas, giving their sound verve and variety in the vein of their great influences Teenage Fanclub and The Band.

2009’s debut offering, the sunny indie pop of Americana laced “Sixteen Holes in Sixteen Souls”, was recorded in Cheadle Hulme with arch collaborator Andy Macpherson at the helm, and yielded a minor incursion into the lower reaches of the Irish charts with single “Alpha”, as well as interest from US management which culminated in Stateside touring which whilst beset by delays and poor timing chalked off more important milestones for the young band.

They returned with 2015’s “Chop House”, and a sister piece, “Outtakes”, followed in 2018. Cribbed from sessions for an abandoned indie rock concept album variously tracked in Liverpool, Loch Fyne and Cheadle Hulme, these sprawling recordings were twice hewn into shape by the ever committed Macpherson and probed at darker themes whilst contributing several live staples such as the anthemic “Little Rib”, disorientating rocker “The Judge” and country fried set-closer “Enough Will Never Be Enough”.

On a roll, sessions for what would become their fourth self-released effort “Le Bateau” began in late 2018 at Pinhole Sound Studios in Manchester, run by scene acolytes The Travelling Band and headed up by recordist and multi-instrumentalist Adam P. Gorman. Having known each other since their earliest performances, Gorman was able to coax a streamlined versatility out of the group, journeying from the menacing power of opener “Don’t Come Home…” through the widescreen pop of lead single “Watching The Worlds Collide”, pastoral splendour of “When I Ran Ahead”, “Opening Up” and “Wait”, plaintive soul searching of “Laundry” and “Pictures Of You”, with diversions into the soft rock of “Dig”, wordy kitchen-sink drama of “Morning Shakes” and “On The Lash” before closing love letter “Poppy On Your First Trip Home”.

Le Bateau, released in 2020, is the band’s most direct album to date, and with new demo material being cooked up in the background for their next effort, the band plan to announce supporting tour dates for Le Bateau as soon as they are permitted to do so.

Rook and The Ravens – Dig

Rook and The Ravens – Morning Shakers

Rook and The Ravens links:
Band/Artist location – Manchester England
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