New Band of the Week: 26th Avenue

Brighton indie rockers 26th Avenue aims to inspire people to overcome hardships in life with a mantra of “we’re young, we’re loud, and we’re determined,” which they try to capture in every track.

The quartet began with Lewis Clark (lead guitar), Alex Cathcart (bass), and Joe Larkham (drums), who met at school and made music for years before meeting vocalist Demi Jay on a band-finding website in 2018. They’ve since set about honing an engaging indie rock sound that’s inspired by the challenges they’ve faced and the decades of indie rock before them.

26th Avenue will be releasing their second EP this summer, from which the first track to be released is Bleach. This anthem of dejection, rebellion and personal growth opens up with a chunky bassline supporting Demi’s opening vocals “Woke up with your spit still on my tongue, Not something I’d associate with real love, Brush my teeth just to get you off, (I still taste you), A taste I don’t want to know anymore.”

That flows into a heavier, quick burst of the catchy chorus vocals “We’ve been running in circles, This never stops, Had to drink bleach, Just to get you off” supported by piercing guitars. Another laid-back verse feeds straight into the big chorus, then palm-muted guitars under Demi’s high-pitched echoey vocals. That gradually builds up to a lively instrumental section and a little guitar solo that continues into a powerful final blast of the chorus.

On the track, Demi told us: “We’ve been sitting on Bleach for a while, and we’ve been anxious to release it since its earliest demos. Bleach is a step-up from our previous projects, an anthem of rebellion and the ability to call out toxic patterns in relationships. This track is endlessly meaningful to us – we really can’t wait for everyone to hear it.” Check it out for yourself in the video here:

This track and the upcoming EP follow last year’s EP Fuel The Fire, from which a personal favourite is opening track 2:06. It opens up with a lively guitar lick and heavy chords and drums, which drop into Demi’s engaging vocals. A laid-back verse feeds into a really catchy chorus “Lock me up and throw away the key I don’t wanna feel Cause I’m scared, of going round like a Ferris wheel, And I know it’s all just in my head, But it’s 2:06, I can’t sleep I’m thinking of you.” A second chorus feeds into a guitar solo before building up to a lively final chorus. Check it out in the video below:

The EP is packed with engaging tracks like the upbeat Flare and the delicious February Tears, which starts out with light guitar under Demi’s delicate vocals. A little guitar lick and drums join in before it bursts into a beautiful chorus of “Your eyes look brighter when you’re crying, Makes me wish I’d never seen them dry, Your eyes look nicer when you’re silent, Makes me feel like I’m about to die.” Violins join in the end of the second verse as it builds up to another huge chorus and bring the track to a dramatic ending. Check it out here:

As mentioned, the 26th Avenue sound is influenced by indie rock heroes of the last few decades. As Demi tells us: “The sound of 26th Avenue is a unique blend of our childhood heroes, influences range from Kings of Leon to Paramore- with a heavy emphasis on the rising influence of female artists and voices in the industry.

“We attempt to capture the realities of our young lives, we really want people to listen to our songs and relate to the struggles contained within them. Equally, we want to show that the ability to overcome and triumph is not only important but always possible, no matter how difficult it may seem.”

Interestingly, the band released a lockdown cover version of a band who’ve previously been our New Band of the Week – which is definitely a GigRadar first. So check out the 26th Avenue cover of Hot Milk’s Wide Awake here:

26th Avenue have really honed the ability to write catchy, emotional indie rock anthems that leave the listener confused whether to laugh, cry or smile. We’re excited to hear their second EP Never Ending Dream, which will be out in the summer, and you can catch the band playing on the BBC Introducing stage at the Jam On The Farm Festival in July.

You can follow 26th Avenue on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.

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