To label ArdentJohn as another indie-folk band is similar to calling the Bible a book: it kind of misses the point…by a fairly long shot.
I can’t remember the last record that clocked up so many plays within the first week as On the Wire has – charming, delicate, honest and with a subtle melancholic undertone, it’s innocently touching and provocative. ArdentJohn’s debut, then, is more than a record – it’s a slither of life’s experiences documented in an imaginative and skilful way.
It’s no surprise to find out that the band, established on the Isle of Bute and now based in Edinburgh, retreated to a cottage by the shores of Loch Fyne for the album: the pureness and idyllic setting shines through on all the tracks. Generally it sounds rough around the edges with certainly not too much time spent on production; but the record is all the better for this.
Vocalist (Kieron) Mason confidently purrs out the lyrics with a hint of accent, flirting with the instrumentation of the six-piece. Immediate comparisons would be drawn with Belle & Sebastian and Broken Records, but ArdentJohn never achieve the same level of consciousness within the music – each track flows easily and just ‘is’ as opposed to being ‘worked on’.
Album highlights are suitably interspersed: ‘Where Paths Lead’ is an (almost) epic build-up of ‘I want you, I need you; can’t you see?’ over a suitably flitting finger-pick; ‘Home‘ follows with it’s melodious into and verses and heart-wrenching lyrics; ‘Fleeting Moments‘ has an awesomely summer feel to it you’ll be picking it out specifically come July and ‘One Step Behind‘ is a welcoming, faster-paced and slightly heavier song that stands out due more to this than anything.
Overall, there are some gems of songs presented on On The Wire which show a group of strong talents. With a sharp ear for cute melodies and honest lyrics, ArdentJohn have released a debut album that promises much more to come in the future from a band who are certainly one to check out.
Check out ArdentJohn @ a live show below