New Band of the Week: Breather

It’s safe to say that this feature has been a long time coming, given we first met exciting new Brighton rockers Breather at their impressive debut gig way back in March. We interviewed them, kept it on file for far too long and now, with their debut EP ready to keep our ears warmly entertained, it’s finally time to give what we believe is Britain’s most exciting new rock band the love they deserve.

Breather was first formed by Sam Irvine (vocals and guitar), Ryan Gilbanks (guitar) and Funeral For A Friend drummer Casey McHale, and we think they’ve now added Nightlife frontman Paul on bass, after he was helping them out live.

As Sam explains: “We all have history with our different bands and we all had our various musical backgrounds over the last few years, but this is the first time together. Ryan and I have known each other since we were teenagers and listened to the same music and we met Casey in Brighton years back.

“At the end of last year, we thought it was about time to get together and put the songs together. This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and we’re putting everything we can into it.”

And as Casey adds: “I moved to Brighton when I was 18 and met these guys. We actually jammed to some very different music years ago, then I went off and did my own thing but the timing never really worked. Then last December we thought ‘why not now’ and it fell in place.”

And we’re very glad they decided to do that, as Breather’s mark on the British music scene continued with the launch of debut EP The Blue on Friday (18 October). And wow, is it an impressive debut effort filled with emotionally charged delicious melodic rock goodness.

The EP opens in fine style with the aforementioned The Blue. It opens up with rolling drums then Sam’s light vocals “Create a fire under the moon, Bury your black heart that drowned in the blue, ‘Cause you’re the demon and I’m the cage, The door is open but you won’t escape, Into the black hole you grew inside, The sea of fire that you can’t deny, ‘Cause I’m the ocean and you’re the boat, A holy vessel that’s barely afloat.”

A hanging guitar lick and guitar chords come in as the atmosphere builds and flows towards a huge chorus of “Enough’s enough, Your heart won’t see a resurrection, But I wish you well, The danger lies in my reflection.” We defy you not to sing along with this engaging chorus.

It drops into another light verse with a flickering synth sound behind the vocals “Fighting the future, Plaguing the past, You are the diamond that’s cutting the glass, But this is harder, This is hell, This is your lover lying perfectly still.” That builds up to another big chorus which this time continues with big cries of “Illuminator, you could not see before,” which soon feeds straight back into a final blast of the chorus. This song is seriously good, and you can check it out in the video below:

That’s followed by second single Hollow, which is a big atmospheric singalong rocky track. Light synth sound and a light guitar lick give way to a smash of big chords supporting Sam’s delicious vocals in a lively opening verse. A big drum roll feeds into a chorus of “Buried on the outside, Buried under real-life, But I’ve been holding on, Breathing air until it’s gone, Because I’ve known, known it’s you for a while.”

A second chorus gives way to a delicious little flickering guitar lick and huge driving drums under Sam’s cried “Known” vocals, then a big cry of “Buried on the outside” drops into a final chorus. Again, so so good, check it out below:

Next up is Diamond Bones, which opens up with a big blast of guitar chords and drums that continue under a big opening verse. That flows into an atmospheric chorus And this is the end, You’re breathing fire once again, Alleviate, My heavy hands begin to ache.” Once again, it’s big, atmospheric and super catchy.

That’s followed by the excellent Your Body Separates. Light synth sounds and drums feed into an opening verse “I can see the water coming in under the bathroom door that you don’t lock anymore, ‘Cause you’re heartbeat without a home, Tracing an empty line I can feel you fall behind.” Echoey vocals of the last line give way to heavier guitars under big vocals “It’s just another bridge you’re burning, Another branch you’ll break, Until there’s nothing left, Your body separates.”

Atmospheric guitars and echoey vocals are supported by big drums with distant cries of “Your body separates,” which feed into a final chorus, then high-pitched, drawn-out guitars bring it to an end. Check it out below:

New track Cut The Rope is next, launching straight into Sam’s engaging vocals supported by big drums and guitar chords. the instruments drop out in building vocals “Underneath the cloth you keep your scars begin to show, And take it off and show me what I don’t already know.” Then a laid-back pre-chorus builds up to a faster chorus of “No this is not how it goes, And now I make them on my own, And I’m having trouble with the fear in my bones, I beg for it to leave me but it seems that I’m alone.”

The EP closes out with most recent single Golden Soul, which begins with a light echoey guitar riff and big drums then a big bassline pounds through under Sam’s vocals “The fire burns with golden soul, So what better place to call my home, The water drags me underneath like an omen holding onto me, So what better place to call my home.” It kicks into an energetic chorus of engaging vocals “Don’t bury me, Don’t cut the stone, With every word you know, ‘Cause when I die I won’t die alone, No I won’t die alone” fuelled by atmospheric guitars, ending on the line.

A second chorus drops into a repeating guitar note and building instrumentals under repeats of “No I won’t die alone,” which builds into a rocky outro of big atmospheric guitars. It provides a fitting ending to what is simply a superb debut EP from what has to be the UK’s most exciting new rock band. Check out the final track below:

And what do they make of their music thus far? Well, on the initial reception to The Blue, Casey told us: “(It’s gone) as well as we could have hoped. We put this band together to make sure it had the best chance of starting right and it’s been a great start.”

And on what to expect from the rest of the EP, he continued: “It’s definitely of the same ilk and will give people the view of the scope of our sound. I’d say it’s largely on the same page, but a different paragraph to The Blue.”

When it comes to their musical inspiration, Casey tells us the band unite on a bedrock of rock music like Thrice, Saosin, Underoath and discovering emo back in the days of MySpace, while they all loved New York post-rockers Moving Mountains.

And from a writing perspective, Sam added: “Lyrically it tends to be fairly along the same theme, quite introspective about past situations. Musically, the bassist will bring things to the band, I try and get it down in my head first to know it won’t be a complete let-down.”

If you couldn’t tell from the above review we are hooked on the engaging sound of Breather. They combine big atmospheric instrumentals with moving lyrics delivered via Sam’s delicious vocals – what’s not to love? We firmly encourage you to give their debut EP a listen, and we’ll be shocked if you only listen to it once – we’ve well and truly got it playing on repeat.

You can also see the band for yourself at Vintage Rockbar in Doncaster on 23 November, and we’re sure there’s much more to come from them soon so stay tuned to their upcoming gigs here.

You can follow Breather on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out The Blue on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play and YouTube.

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