A timely return from Abandon Ship! who are back to warm the winter nights with Say the Word, the opening gambit in an E.P. release which is due to gradually unfurl over the next few months. The E.P is a glittering self-production, sprinkled with some extra mastering magic by The 1975 collaborator Robin Schmidt. If previous release Table for One (described in these pages as “a genuine indie-anthem”) was a heads-down six-string assault straight out of the old school, Say the Word sees the Basingstoke fourpiece in a shiny guitar-pop mood which is very much de la mode and pleasantly akin to the kind of influences that these boys have aspirations to surpass.

Say the Word throws the doors open right from the off, a distant rhythm beginning to build, before the song starts thumping the senses with the kind of memorable riff that sticks like flypaper. Frontman Luke Burywood’s breathy vocal makes incursions, folding out a confessional tale of the kind of irresponsible Bacchanalian excess that is, or at least should be, the preserve of youth. “Me and Casey, we always take it too far,” he confesses, “I can never say no”.

“The study of a friendship in the twilight of young adulthood, before the responsibilities all start to kick in, is a touching one.”

The song begins to explore more lyrical subtlety; the debauched accounts giving way to reminiscences; the two old sparring partners having been separated by the miles and perhaps also by the inevitable passing of time. Nothing ever stays the same and not all seasons become a lifetime. The study of a friendship in the twilight of young adulthood, before the responsibilities all start to kick in, is a touching one; recalling the art, or even aspects of the relationship, of a Kerouac or Cassady – even if our protagonist is stuck at home in the same dead-end town, while “Casey” is the one “on the road”.

The chorus scintillates. “It won’t be long until I see you again,” promises Burywood, as much to convince himself as anyone else. It’s carpe diem territory and it’s beautifully done; a snapshot of youth that makes you want to cling to those special moments forever. If the rest of the EP is as good as this, we will be in possession of something very special indeed by the time those evenings are starting to lengthen again. Pristine stuff.

9/10

Words: Iain Dalgleish @idalgleishmusic

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