by Tall Ships on FatCat Records
Impressions is the follow-up to Tall Ships' acclaimed debut album, 2012's Everything Touching, which saw the band championed by the BBC and NME, selling out shows across the UK including London’s Scala, and headlining the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading and Leeds Festival.
It was the result of a difficult birthing process that cemented the band's resolution to go their own way and be the captains of their own destiny. Instead of going through the usual motions, the group - comprised of frontman Ric Phethean, bassist Matt Parker, drummer Jamie Bush and keyboardist Jamie Field - opted to go it alone, taking command of every element of their art: retreating to Field’s Devon home, on the edge of Dartmoor, they adopted a similarly DIY recording process to that which birthed Everything Touching years earlier. “We recorded and engineered it all. The DIY nature of it is one of necessity, not aesthetic,” says Field.
What emerged speaks for itself. Impressions bristles with a fresh intensity: it’s a set that feels constantly on a knife edge of unpredictability, capable within a single song of being both disconcertingly tender and universal - easily the most ambitious and anthemic music the band has ever written (most notably see ‘Petrichor’, ‘Meditations On Loss’ and ‘Will to Life’), marking them out as one of the UK’s most promising rock bands but one worn with the battle scars of doubt, fragility and lessons learned the hard way.
It's proved an invaluable lesson for the band, however, not just in how it's hardened their resolve, but equally in the way the experiences have directly fed into their art, as Parker explains: “It’s a product of everything that’s happened to us over the past four years.” Listening to it now, what shines through is how truthful a document of strife and struggle lies behind its potent anthemia, not just for four young British musicians, but for a generation facing greater uncertainty and bigger decisions than in decades.