Taking the powerpop route into alternative rock, Guildford’s Follower have distilled crunching guitars and strong melodies into six tracks on their debut release, ‘Against The Ropes’. Revolving around themes of dejection and isolation, the quintet navigates the waters optimistically.
Kicking off with distorted chords and a sporadic drumbeat, ‘Fallen Down’ launches into a thick wall of sound, with Ollie Moor‘s guitar lead cutting through. Elaborating on this motif, the verse sees Luke Archer provide a smooth croon with a pop-punk feel. Using a bouncing energy, the track plays with conventional structure, enabling the hooks to drive their way home.
‘Faded’ sees Archer jump between rhythmic patterns and elongated notes at ease whilst Moor and rhythm guitarist Damien McVey trade off octave chords and scale flourishes in a driving coda. Making the most of the strong melodies of the compositions, the group add subtle deviations to each track, allowing areas of discovery on repeat listens.
After displaying the energetic side of the group, ‘Someday Soon’ takes a subtle approach to the second half of the release. Built on the foundation of intimate finger picking, the track continually builds to a pounding climax. Starting small, with Archer‘s vocal performance moving towards a brighter delivery, drummer Cody Jones propels the track. Displaying restraint in the first half with rim shots and cymbal trills, Jones pounds his snare into submission on the final chorus.
Ending the release is ‘Dreamer’, a cut that showcases the group’s confidence, spikey guitar work alongside Joe Durrant‘s solid bass line to deliver a strong closing statement of the group.
A self-assured and tightly written debut, ‘Against The Ropes’ has set the groundwork for Follower to build beyond their aspirations. The record may be moulded in the tropes of their influences, but that doesn’t diminish its value.