It’s strange to see how quickly and comfortably All Ears Avow are moving into the realms of a potentially great, potentially huge alt-rock prospect. It’s certainly not a bad thing to see a new band like this succeed, but while their last EP Edge Of This definitely set the wheels in motion, nothing it had to offer has been as conclusive as the tracks that have preceded this follow-up, really honing in on the pop and alternative influences that have made the leadoff singles so potent, and reaching the closest point yet for All Ears Avow’s crystallisation into a band that’s worth putting a lot of stock behind. Sure, the mid-December release date will inevitably scupper some of that momentum, but depending on how good Skin & Bones is, it’s not worth betting against some big things happening in 2019 just yet.
And if anymore evidence is needed, just take the EP itself, as this is easily some of the sharpest and tightest new alt-rock going which, if All Ears Avow can pick up some necessary traction from it, should make them a serious contender to be breakout stars over the next twelve months. And perhaps where they shine most in this regard is their efficiency of resource use; it might only be five tracks long, but barely a moment of that is wasted on anything but keeping the production as crisp and clear as possible, and accentuating the hooks to the best of their abilities. That’s hardly an issue though, as right from the opening title track all the way to the rubbery lilt of Fake, the deftness in melodic construction is absolutely excellent across the board, and highlights exactly where the pop influences are used most effectively.
Of course, being such an integral part of All Ears Avow’s sound, the elements from outside rock music shape the direction of this EP by a considerable amount, and to say that’s a bad or unworkable thing couldn’t be further from the truth. With the fat, detailled basslines lifted from funk to Claire Sutton’s crystal-clear vocals that opt for the slightest of R&B tones, there’s so much colour and liquidity to Skin & Bones that the vast majority of alt-rock bands are simply unable to muster. The groove and mobility on tracks like All Your Pieces and Got Lucky already oozes with personality even at this early stage, all while keeping a sense of fullness and relative heaviness in the guitar work that never marginalises any part of their sound. It’s clear to see how much time All Ears Avow have spent honing their craft, given how precisely effective the balance is.
At the end of the day, there’s really very little to criticise with Skin & Bones. At a push, you could maybe say there could be a bit more variety, but even then that’s clutching at straws for an EP that, especially for a band at this early stage, does pretty much everything right. It’s enormously accessible, easy to like, and carves out such a distinct niche in a subset of a genre that’s been crying out for some diversity for ages now. Seriously, with the right push, All Ears Avow could be the Britrock band of 2019, and right now, it’s hard to think of anyone more deserving.
For fans of: Marmozets, Lower Than Atlantis, Paramore
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Skin & Bones’ by All Ears Avow is released on 14th December.