Album review: The Equatorial Group – Falling Sands

When I started this blog, what I really wanted to do was find some great music that I never otherwise would have come across. It’s only been a few days since the first post was published – and already I’m excited to have been pointed in the direction of Sussex five-piece The Equatorial Group and their sublime second LP, Falling Sands.

Before I continue, I must confess that on the surface, this is exactly the type of record that I will fall for every time: extremely melodic, delicately arranged and immaculately recorded – but, that aside, there’s an emotional weight and lightness of touch spread across the ten tracks that marks out The Equatorial Group as something pretty special.

Hailing from Eastbourne, the band – comprised of Twe Fox (keys and vocals), Andy Tourle (bass and vocals), Dave Davies (guitar and vocals), Neil Grimes (drums), and Helen Weeks (vocals, pedal steel, guitar) – excel in a 70s-soaked sound that is in equal parts as dynamic as it is surprising. Particularly impressive is the interplay between the male and female lead vocals and the rich group harmonies scattered throughout that would not sound out of place on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.

From the beautifully understated pedal steel-assisted opening of Oklahoma, through to the desolate guitar-and-vocals minimalism of Oh Smile, this is a record that plays out as one long wistful sigh. That’s a good thing, by the way. In lesser hands, the band’s influences could result in pastiche, but often just as you begin to feel that you know where a song is going, the band deftly pulls the rug from under your feet. Witness, for example, the luscious vocal harmonies and the unexpected dive into half-time a third of the way through Rancho, or the inspired off-kilter rhythm of Catch Your Ride that gradually picks up momentum before dismantling and reassembling again with ease – riding out with the repeated mantra “it’ll be your time this year”.

Other highlights include the lilting, sedately elegant Freight Train and the near seven-minute penultimate track, Prague, which effortlessly (and exhilaratingly) shifts between gentle washes of fingerpicked electric guitar, gorgeous overlapping male and female vocals, and a cascade of piano and dueling guitars that are more than a little reminiscent of Nels Cline’s more tasteful exploits on Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky.

In short: Falling Sands is a delight. The first two times that I listened through, my incredibly agitated, teething baby calmly played on the rug in our lounge and then (thankfully!) fell into a deep sleep in the car. You could take that either way I guess, but I’m sure it was a compliment.

You can find out more about the band on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bandcamp and website.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with
Get started
%d bloggers like this: