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Asylums are emotive and energising on Signs Of Life

"Signs Of Life"

Release date: 28 October 2022
Asylums - Signs of Life cover
27 October 2022, 00:00 Written by Kate Crudgington

Amplifying the need for connection during a time when everything from algorithms, to unstable governments has marred our ability to focus, Asylums’ fourth record Signs Of Life radiates a raucous and sincere gratitude.

The Southend-based four piece have written another potent cacophony of frantic riffs, reflective lyrics and infectious melodies which ruminate on the pressures and the perks of modern day life.

Conceived during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic and recorded at Rockfield Studios with producer Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers), the residual political fury of Asylums’ previous record Genetic Cabaret (2020) has melted away on their latest offering. The band still lean into a shared despondency, but most importantly, they push their way out of it. As vocalist and guitarist Luke Branch observes on the cathartic “Spat Out The Other Side” - “If you feel low / find a reason to let go” - and that’s what Signs Of Life allows space for.

Influenced by the eclectic sounds of R.E.M, Dr. Feelgood, The Cardigans and Jesus & Mary Chain, and with the addition of soaring string arrangements composed by drummer Henry Tyler, Asylums balance their manic riffs alongside lyrics that percolate on the internal and external pressures of everyday existence. From the raucous nature of tracks like “Scatterbrain” and “Crypto Klepto” to the sensitive undertones of “Understand The Psychology”, “Everybody Has A Space To Fill” and “Erase The Edges”, the band soften the sharpness of their darker musings. Even when Branch acknowledges “a black cloud” in his “blue sky thinking” on the tender “Instant Coffee”, his soft “Ooh la la la’s” and Tyler’s majestic strings prevent things from being too dispiriting.

Despite the sardonic tone of tracks like “Say Goodbye Before You Die”, “Nursery Rhymes Against Humanity” and the inverted proverb “If You Can’t Join Them Beat Them”, Signs Of Life is a reminder to persevere in the face of adversity and an ode to the resilience of relationships in all their forms. On the eponymous track, Branch invites listeners to “come and see me / show me a sign of life” if they feel like their “optimism is compromised” - and it’s an invitation they won’t regret accepting on this emotive, energising new record.

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