Watch This Trace – Hot Press Interview by Colin Carberry
There is a moment during the slow, final cascade of the song ‘Catherine Holly’, (maybe about nine and a half minutes in) when Tracer AMC could be anywhere. The noise they are making- powerful, overwhelming, but still thread-thin and delicate – is, despite the lack of vocals, remarkably eloquent and lyrical. The Belfast four-piece, when they’re in this kind of form are capable of conjuring up all kinds of mental pictures: they could be in a disused warehouse, an igloo, a space station. And they could be writing about anything- joy, grief, love, the washing up. Flux and Form , their debut album revels in these kind of transportational, but ultimately enigmatic, moments. Put some headphones on and listen to Sleep Trick (Laughing Stock Talk Talk with ants in their pants) and the beguiling ‘Copenhagen’ and you’ll be invited to paint your own pictures: to let your mind wander. Just don’t expect the band to provide directions.
“There’s no grand narrative behind it” says bassist Alex Donald. “It just kinda sounds right”.
“They’re not about anything,” Jonny Ashe, the guitarist, adds. “They just sound like someone has spent a lot of time on them. Which we have. There’s a lot of detail on there. The kind of detail you probably only get on the dole.”
Flux and Form is a highly welcome release: both for the band themselves and the Northern Irish music scene in general. Not only is it of the very highest quality, it also shows what can be achieved with patience, perseverance, and a truly independent spirit. Tracer AMC’s first single ‘A Song For Amber and Red’ was released almost 4 years ago, but instead of immediately looking to record an LP, the boys spent their time setting up a small label (We Love Records), promoting shows, and schooling themselves in the noble art of home recording.
“It took us a really long time to get to the kind of level we were really happy with,” says Alex. “We recorded two singles and had decided that we needed another guitarist just to play it live – that’s when we got Michael (Kinloch) in. Since then there has been such an improvement. We’ve grown up a lot. I think that’s obvious when you hear the record.”
Recorded by the band themselves in various bedrooms on the Lisburn Road, Flux and Form transcends the limitations of it’s creation. It’s a big, mature record with self-confidence and depth that deserves to be investigated.
Jonny: “We can really feel the benefit of the past five years. If we’d hung around waiting for a label to pick us up and look after us then we’d have just been another one of those Belfast bands who only ever make on record. We’ve done this all ourselves, and it’s been difficult, but we’re not relying on anyone else and that gives us a freedom.”
Tracer AMC have kept their powder dry for long enough. Now it’s time for some fireworks.
Order a copy through www.weloverecords.co.uk