Introducing: Our Imaginary Friends
Posted on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 | No Comments
Hailing from various locales but calling Newcastle home, the charming men of Our Imaginary Friends have been around in various formations since 2005, when vocalist/guitarist Ben Lowes-Smith, guitarist/keyboardist Paul Gardner and clarinetist/keyboardist Gary Cameron first came together. Since 2010 though, it's been their five-piece line-up including Sam Sheppard on bass and John Egdell on drums and additional guitar that's slowly been garnering attention and praise in the region for their subtly infectious songs.
Mixing short, sharp indie pop hooks with witty, melancholy lyrics and lulling baritone vocals, their sound finds an intriguing and delightful middle ground between ramshackle thrills and a more complex, mature outlook than most 'indie' bands today. Over-lapping guitar lines tossle for space with soaring woodwind and strident keyboard lines in each compact, ultra-melodic piece, while the lyrics directly address the growing pains of the not-so-young adult: drunken bravado, lovelorn isolation and a sense of distance from the mores of the day. On ballads like Hesitation and Crimson and Fur in particular, they excel in a minutae-driven, downbeat charm with a hint of 13-era Blur to it.
Although there's been a few higher-profile gigs recently - such as a slot supporting The Cornshed Sisters for The Star & Shadow Cinema's Christmas all-dayer - of late they've been locked away in the recording studio, slowly piecing together their debut album The Frost and The Concrete, set for release later this year. It's a record that looks set to deliver on the promise of their live set whilst also pushing Our Imaginary Friends into new directions.
The two tracks released from the record so far show the two opposites of the band's sound: there's the fuzzy, full-band The Chaos, whose lyrics relay "the states I get into night after night" and which boasts a superb Blow Up referencing video (as found below), whilst on the other end there's the subtle, aching Confetti, whose ambigious lyric folds in nicely with the ambient wintery chill of the music (and which can currently be streamed from their Soundcloud page).
Our Imaginary Friends - The Chaos
2013's looking set to be an important year for Our Imaginary Friends, with plans in motion for gigs and touring to accompany the album release. Their homespun but delicate songwriting is instantly catchy and heartwarming in a way not many bands can manage, aiming for the heart and mind more than the eardrums. Make sure you look out for more to come from them as the year progresses.