One of the UK’s best and brightest new bands, Red Wine Talk has become a staple of Norwich’s indie scene ever since they first surfaced in 2018, but now, with the release of their hotly anticipated debut album, they’re about to become international names.
A talented five-piece consisting of frontman Edward Brookes, lead guitarist Cally Robb, saxophonist/guitarist Fred Clements, bassist Kain McBarron, and drummer Adam Smith, the band have been steadily building their fanbase with a string of impressive singles, laying a perfect foundation for the chequered indie anthemics of their debut record, 'The Beauty and Elegance of Drinking Alone'. Composed of fourteen original tracks that perfectly encapsulates the band’s eclectic sound and style, Red Wine Talk’s debut record is a restless, expansive release, one that shines with excitement, emotion, and plenty of youthful exuberance.
Opening with the aptly titled ‘Intro’, a short, orchestral tone that rise and falls around budding synth tones and spoken word passages, Red Wine Talk give little away at first. An unassuming, but keenly captivating introduction, ‘Intro’ sets the stage, and the band make sure they don’t miss their mark. Ushering in a wave of brilliant, golden age indie, ‘The Halfway House’ lands as Red Wine Talk’s first major triumph, perfectly blending alt-pop and modern indie-rock in a way that hasn’t been properly recreated since The 1975’s breakthrough debut album dropped back in 2013. A triumphant score that sees Brookes singing sweetly over howling guitars, it’s a gleaming indie-pop gem that perfectly illustrates the band’s charm, confidence, and charism. Much of the same can be said for the following number, ‘I Believe In You’, the first arrived last month as the album’s main single. Exuding confidence and ringing with the same authenticity that has made acts like Blossoms and inhaler so successful in recent years.
On third cut, ‘My Confession’, the band begin a new chapter in the album, delivering a heartfelt, guitar-pop track that rallies around one of Brookes’ best vocal performances. Caught between soaring choruses and more harrowing, slow-burning verse, there’s an undeniable quality to ‘My Confession’ that you’ll be chasing long after the song is over. In the two-part instrumental of ‘Define Alive’, Red Wine Talk deliver an evolving intermission, one that opens with slow, almost vulnerable acoustic lines that find their feet and transition into more upbeat, even hopeful sounds. Emotive, but fleeting, their passages from one side of the album to the next, opening the door to the rolling, bass-heavy sounds of ‘Sandcastles’, and jagged, rock’n’roll styling of ‘Get To You’.
Through the follow-up instrumentals of ‘Plague Island’, ‘Concrete arrives as another highlight, shining with heavier rock overtones that ebb and flow around softer pop melodies, creating a sound that draws instant comparisons with bands like Viola Beach and The Courteeners. In ‘What A Shame’, we’re treated to a near-perfect follow-up, one that tees up some impressive electronic flourishes and a defiant undertow of snarling, rock anthemics that showcase Red Wine Talk’s diversity and deliver a final caustic triumphant before we enter the final chapter on the album.
Beginning with ‘I Found A Girl’, the closing moments of the album are set awash in a sea of romantic, stripped-back pop sounds, and ‘I Found A Girl’ does it perfectly, creating a sweet, optimistic sound that Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi would be jealous of. It’s from there that ‘Middle of Nowhere’ and ‘I Love Her More Than She Loves Me’ take shape, offering two final, tender songs that channel both atmospheric and acoustic brilliance.
An album that feels as though it was built in sections, 'The Beauty and Elegance of Drinking Alone' is an evolving musical experience, one that conjures up different emotions and experiences throughout its runtime and promises nothing more than it can deliver. Expressive, understated, and filled with a blossoming indie-pop sound that rewards its listener time and time again, Red Wine Talk’s debut record will undoubtedly reflect something different for everyone, whether it's post-teen angst, youthful optimism, and timeless catharsis.
Available now on all major platforms, as well as on CD and vinyl, Red Wine Talk's debut is a strong starting point for the band, one that isn’t perfect, and doesn’t pretend to be, but instead shows a powerful understanding of modern music and the human condition.
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