This is a review of "Night Herons" recorded by Night Herons. The review was written by Kathryn Holden in 2009.
If you like the sound of a band that channels the rock-soul sound of Gossip, the electro-falsetto of La Roux and the driving pop hooks of Blondie, then Leeds' very own Night Herons are definitely for you. The band are sticking to indie roots, but adding layers of Gary Numan-synths, mixing them with the deep, resonating, smoky voice of Clare Kelly to create something immensely difficult to achieve: a unique sound.
We are used to female voices being used to humanise and sex-up cold electro. We've seen it with Ladyhawke, Little Boots and more recently with the emerging Ellie Goulding. This EP shows Night Herons following in this tradition, but instead of just submitting to the electronic sound entirely, Night Herons still have a pounding rock edginess about them. 'Bury Your Head' kicks off a great trio of songs, hitting out hard with New Order-style synths and tight drums. The confidence of the band really shines through, not shying away from experimental middle-eights and big crescendos of exploding sound.
Of the songs on the EP, 'In Red' has the most first single potential. Swaying and moody with a big bass guitar driving the lyrics at first, the mood builds to a big pop rock refrain, kept from ever being too annoyingly or obviously commercial by its experimental layers of echoes, eerie organ-like sounds and jolty movements from verse to chorus. 'Systematic Error' shows the variety of influences absorbed by the band. Kelly's voice drifts over the chords with a knowing, soulful indulgence, while the underlying beats roll on with an almost reggae-like funk feel. Throw in a guitar solo and a synth-let-loose attack at the end, and you know you're onto a winner. This band have got a long way to go, but take serious notice of their name because hopefully 2010 will bring them more of the recognition and encouragement they deserve.