EP Review: A Festival, A Parade's 'Stay Away From Me'
Having been added to the bill of Sam Fender’s UK tour after a string of massively successful shows over the summer, A Festival, A Parade are well and truly back with a bang.
We were lucky enough to receive early access to their new and highly anticipated EP 'Stay Away From Me', here’s what we thought...
The EP kicks off with pre-released track ‘Cold Shower’, which begins with a soundscape of ambient guitar and mumbled speech, before an eruption of sound 35 seconds in.
Distorted guitars comparable to the sound of a siren and carrying an utmost urgency, immediately set the scene for the rest of the track and ultimately the whole EP.
Eventually met by a forceful drumbeat, the main guitar riff is relentless and creates a real sense of uneasy tension, contrary to the laid back vocals that are laid down.
Make no mistake, the energy is unwavering throughout the entire track, and the difference in dynamics makes for really interesting listening. The track serves as a warning to the recipient, and the main lyrical takeaway: “if I was you I’d keep your f*cking distance” is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine.
‘Cold Shower’ really is the perfect name for this track, as it certainly wakes you right up.
The more relaxed intro of ‘Pocket Knife’ acts as a beautiful segway from the opening track, with the vocals having more of a spotlight shone on them. The feeling lasts all of about 12 seconds however, before a gradual build up into the colossal AFAP signature sound, but it’s a great breather for the listener to prepare for the rest of the track.
‘Sex Dream’ is one of the softer tracks, and a perfect dip for the record, taking the listener on a euphoric journey of fuzzy bass tones and calming guitar leading up to another huge blast to accelerate the song to its climax before an abrupt stop.
AFAP’s latest single ‘The Vineyard’ features on the EP as the penultimate track and is the catchiest and most upbeat number on offer, with a surfy riff being the main element catching the listener’s attention.
My favourite thing about this song is that it’s very much of two halves, with a false ending luring you into a false sense of security until the song transforms into something else entirely for an instrumental outro of gargantuan stature.
The title track from the record is my favourite of the lot; a mysterious, ambient number with spoken word-esque vocals and an abundance of dreamy reverberant tones.
'Stay Away From Me' is a nine minute long track which is always slightly risky, but at no point did I get bored and found that it was able to tell a story without even having to listen to the lyrics.
The progression of this song feels very natural, and every component is necessary to the overall effect. It’s a track I’d be massively interested to witness live and observe whether the same captivating qualities and attention to detail from the recorded version translate to the stage.
The development of this song, albeit very gradual, hurls the listener into a cacophony of sound driven by heavy guitars and more muffled shouting, and feels like it’s constantly changing direction.
Beautifully frenzied and epically cinematic yet still carrying traits that can only be described as poetic, it serves as the perfect closing number for this treasure of a record.
It’s rare that a band can capture such a chaotic sound while sticking to meditative roots, but A Festival, A Parade have done just that. 'Stay Away From Me' is out via Tipping Point records on October 26th.
Photography by: Josh Aitken