The Way Back Up
Release Date: July 10, 2015
Prides have been slowly making a name for themselves over the last few years. The trio formed in Glasgow in 2013 and released an EP, The Seeds You Sow, in 2014. This is the band’s debut full-length album.
With Synth Pop slowly taking over popular music, the easy reference point would certainly be CHVRCHES. For older fans of the genre though, you can undoubtedly hear a lot of the underlying sound that was pioneered by artists like Mr. Mister and Howard Jones throughout the eighties.
While The Way Back Up struggles to keep consistent energy, there are a number of superb songs here. “Little Danger” is one of the strongest ones, it defers from the main formula a bit by adding a Gospel flavor. It’s a small step to imagine this song played on an acoustic guitar with a choir singing the background vocals. It’s got a danceable cadence and Stewart Brock’s vocals offer a soulful balance to the coldness of the synths.
“I Should Know Better” is another excellent moment, kicking off the album with the heavy synths driving the electronic drums as Brock’s soul-searching vocals longingly deliver the lyrics. The sparse lead guitar work accents it all and the chorus is as stadium-sized as it gets. The title track relies a little more on the guitar accents and the keyboards which allow the song to become somewhat more dynamic than the others. It’s the perfect blend of men and machine, sounding fresh and new without losing its soul. “Let It Go” is another heavy hitter that brings a positive energy to the record
The big anthems on The Way Back Up are wonderful, positively charged tunes, despite not being wildly original. It’s the quieter moments that drag the momentum down, unfortunately. The more intimate feel doesn’t gel well with much of the record in my opinion. That said, Prides have positioned themselves as a band to watch with this record. If you enjoy Synth Pop of any decade then you should, at least, give this a shot as you’ll find a lot to enjoy.
Reviewed by Mark Fisher