The Climbers - The Good Ship
Release date: 31/05/10
The Climbers debut album The Good Ship has been a few years in the making. Turns out it was definitely worth it though. This album is a joyous collection of songs covering a whole lot of ground and demonstrating a rare and wonderful talent for composition and song craft.
Full-time Climbers are Tim West, Christian Hardy and Nick Hemming but with Christian and Nick also releasing music as The Leisure Society, The Climbers have been recording in fits and starts over a period of six years.
Recorded predominantly in hired cottages in Wales and Devon, The Good Ship, as the band explain on their MySpace, was about wanting to capture the sounds of houses packed with friends just making music, as it happened. This provides a truly refreshing change from the barrage of over-produced, auto-tuned nonsense that seems to be endemic at the moment.
Second track âAnythingâ works as a good introduction to The Climbersâ sound, demonstrating at once some truly beautiful instrumentation and yet an impression of simplicity. The pretty guitar strumming, piano, and organ is reminiscent of some prime Eels territory - even a bit of Counting Crows is conjured up in the fingerpicked banjo, which becomes somewhat of a motif throughout the album. Tim Westâs tones rattle though the chorus âI call on my brothersâ and by the time the strings kick in what appears to have been a simple and melancholic song at the start is lifted up to being something quite impressive.
It seems then, that The Climbers are about a really full-bodied sound and that probably comes from the 19 friends they list as part-time band members on their MySpace. Mouth organs, strings, trumpets, electric guitars, banjos and a choir of voices frequently come together to lend an anthemic slant to many of the songs on The Good Ship.
In fact the title track is a great example of this, the oomp-pah-pah style piano riff and âla la lasâ will make you sway and by the time by the time the dramatic âYou wonât sink the good shipâ refrain comes in youâll be a fully paid-up member of The Climbers crew.
The folk influence is also pretty apparent throughout so any music fans that have been enjoying the banjo touting Mumford and Sons and other anti-folk outfits would do well to give The Climbers a listen.
Lending the album some proper country influences âI Will Neverâ is a banjo and guitar-led ditty with an almost Grizzly Bear vibe in places. But itâs the voices on this album, which come together so seamlessly that they add an extra bit of magic to these tracks. Perhaps it is unsurprising though that this is a band, which sounds almost perfect â itâs those six years of being together before releasing a debut that has done it.