Single Review: The Strands' 'Combine'
'Combine' is the latest offering from Sunderland four piece The Strands, released March 1st.
The song has a healthy mix of influences such as Cassia and Circa Waves, but is still packed with enough originality for them to hold their own amongst a sea of indie bands trying to achieve the same outcome.
These lads have started to really make a name for themselves throughout the scene, so their first release of 2019 was a highly anticipated one.
Having seen The Strands live a number of times already, this tune was recognisable from the outset as a common number in their set. 'Combine' doesn’t really mark anything drastically new in terms of direction from them, but it does slot really nicely into their growing discography as they embark on branding themselves and marking their signature sound.
Not only that, but it displays a solid knack for clever, catchy songwriting while upholding a level of musicianship; this is only furthered by the addition of their newest member Kyle on lead guitar. The boys really seem to be playing to their strengths on this track, and know where their heads are at moving forward as a collective.
'Combine' wastes no time, drawing the listener in within the first seconds. You’re transported from early March to the middle of June by a feel-good, summery guitar hook and upbeat rhythm.
The focus is really on the chorus however, which is gradually built up to throughout the verses to reach the pinnacle nice and early on.
The vocal aspect, specifically at this part of the song is super strong as Dean has a voice which is instantly recognisable, and gets better and more controlled on every instance that I’ve encountered them.
The post-chorus really holds up too. The energy that has mounted up to this point, and the lyrics “we’re miles apart” will be ringing in your ears for days.
Produced entirely by the band's drummer Joe Cooper, the track is clean and professional sounding. It’s of a standard that matches The Strands’ live show which is known for being energetic and raw, while still keeping their more polished indie-pop production values intact.
The result is a nice contrast and, I’d imagine, an accessible one for the new fans they'll no doubt make off the back of this release.
Overall, 'Combine' is guaranteed to stay a fan favourite for The Strands and I can already envisage crowds at their upcoming live shows booting off to this one.
You can catch the boys supporting Bloxx at Northumbria Institute2 on 15th April to hear it for yourself. It’s one of my favourite things to be able to watch a band develop, and these guys get consistently better - don't sleep on them.
Photography by Jack Herron