Networking, that’s the word. Or put another way, it pays to badger those people who may be able to help your band get on. Familiars seem fully aware of that and after a few friendly but persistent e-mails, not to mention a couple of lunch time drinks, they found themselves supporting the marvellous James Warner Prophecies at a recent Songs of Praise night and I wondered why I hadn’t taken them up on the idea months before.
Listening to their eponymous e.p. it is easy to see where their influences lie, nothing wrong with that, but rather than dwell on the past I will just say that if they turned up as the support act for the likes of The Editors or even White Lies, you wouldn’t question the judgement of the booking. Rather than the sweeping keyboard washes that this connection might suggest, they opt for a piano oriented core sound but then use the other musical weapons in their arsenal to bolt on sonic designs that range from the fragile, spacey and evocative to the driven, dynamic and robust as each passage of each song requires.
Vocally there is more than a passing resonance with the likes of Dead Can Dance’s Brendan Perry or Harry McVeigh of White Lies in the powerful, almost crooner like diction and delivery that comes as a refreshing change from the half mumbled fare that seems acceptable these days. And when you take all of those aspects and give the band a stage to broadcast from, the whole thing just takes flight and expands in wonderful and often unexpected directions.
They become big without losing the delicacy of their music, they manage to drive the point home through well co-ordinated playing and thoughtful dynamics rather than just the usual rock and roll approach of merely cranking everything up, and they retain a slightly dark undercurrent without resorting to melancholic cliché or gothic imagery. Proof that rock music can be both big and clever when it puts its mind to it.