I always thought that you should never judge music by a screen grab of a video, but actually maybe you should, as that is how Many Things came to my attention, via their video for ‘Burn Together’. Take into account that I have seen Jared Leto’s ‘Joker’ of the Suicide Squad popping on my social media a lot recently, this is what I associated MT with from my brief viewing of their video. Curiosity got the better of me and thankfully it did as Track 4 from the album of the same name, and the vocals of lead singer Michael Tomlinson got me wanting more.
‘Holy Fire’ is a great opener to the album. The vocals do not kick in until about 2 minutes. You would be forgiven if your mind wandered and started visualizing the opening credits of a new crime drama; well, mine did. It’s a song that includes a bewildering mix of styles and sounds, that illustrate this band’s variety. It could almost have been an album in itself were it extended beyond its seven minute running time.
But there are another ten songs on this album and it just gets better. Burn Together seems to be an album that leads you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Songs of heartbreak are often very upbeat, perhaps designed to lift your spirits and fight through a period of tough love, as in the opening lines of ‘Dear One’; “I don’t mind when you say these hurtful things cos I love you baby.” The chorus of ‘Alpha Romeo’ does the same thing. You are singing along quite happily, forgetting the pain of love. If I go through break up I know Many Things are going to be a soundtrack to it.
However, ‘Chains’ brings it down a notch and the big drumbeats from the previous four songs are not as apparent. It is a nice break in the album – quite melodic, especially on hearing the backing vocals of keyboardist Gabi Woo. It also has a Killers-esque vibe to it (from the best sounds that The Killers brought us). MT then break out into another direction with ‘Paranoid People Meet Me In The Middle’. A very choir-sounding and haunting track in both vocals and music, but then they surprise us with ‘Scottish sounding drums’ and electronics at about 2:27. A track I could put against a scene in Dan Browns, The Da Vinci Code, as it is quite intense. It dawns on me that this is the second time I have mentioned that this album sounds like it could be a soundtrack to a movie. I actually do find it explores different moods, timing moments of suspense as if it was scripted for a movie, rather than the album it has become.
The next three songs take us back to the upbeat sounds that the majority of the album holds. We even get the sense of more positivity, so you are not tearing your heart out of your soul too much, as we get in ‘Heaven’. Don’t get me wrong, as the heartache songs really do work as they are. And to quote 77 “you can’t beat darkness with more darkness.” I think would be the best way to describe the music from this fine debut of an album.
They close with a long anthemic-cinematic tune, ‘What We Are’ which when taken with the album as a whole, answers its own question. When I first heard that one track, ‘Burn Together’, I had a very basic sound in mind. I almost immediately likened Many Things to Future Islands (who are amazing), but as I explored the album deeper I have to say that they cannot be so easily described. They are a three piece bringing big beats, electronic sounds, haunting vocals, bleak lyrics, rousing dance beats – in short, that are many things.
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