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Ghost Coast to Coast

June 20 2012

When I first began my cycling mission I flatly refused to listen to my iPod as I pedalled through the terrific coastal scenery of California, or ground my way over 8000ft passes of the Sierra Nevadas, or rode the glorious desert roads of Southern Utah. When I got to the windy plains of Kansas, however, the monotony of driving into a headwind got the better of me and I grabbed my battered iPod Classic from the depths of my dry-sac.

There is one playlist that I’ve listened to consistently, not just in the saddle but throughout the last ten months of globetrotting. It’s called ‘JS & WNH’; a combination of my two favourite band’s discographies. Whilst Jumping Ships and We’re No Heroes may not be household names, they should be, and one day, I hope, will be. It’s very easy to imagine them on the Main Stage at Reading Festival.

I write this post after one particularly gruelling day in Kentucky, when I struggled with the 100 degree heat and increased humidity as I rode from Galconda, Illinois to Sebree, KY. I was really struggling for speed after some ridiculous inclines and exhausting escapes from packs of dogs (a very common occurrence recently – I’ve had to resort to squirting water in their faces as they snap at my pedals!) so put on the new single from We’re No Heroes for a first listen.

‘Ghost Coast’ may not have the instant danceability of the Cardiff lads’ previous EPs, but it is a mature release, providing another piece of compelling evidence for the We’re No Heroes’ pop kings portfolio. It still has that tantalising goose-plucked guitar, but they’ve added a deeper, more complex, vocal that just exemplifies the growth and hard work of this young band – for, arguably, if there was a weakness in the trio’s output it’s been the vocals.

Included with the single is ‘Aerials’ on the b-side; a dark, ‘80s back alley cop theme tune with robotic vocals and a Friendly Fires chorus. It’s a surprising move, but not unnerving, it’s listenable, no, more than that, it’s repeatable, with their signature jam band fretwork on show again. Both songs are familiar yet fresh, a hotpot of musical influences from Battles and Cut Copy to the likes of Defunkt, Fela Kuti and Sweden’s Studio - as well travelled as myself!

When I was interviewed by KZMU Moab Community Radio way back in Utah, they gave me a chance to play two songs of my choosing. I chose ‘This Modern Love by Bloc Party and ‘Atlantic Hearts’ by We’re No Heroes. If the Welsh wonders continue to put out music of this standard, I’m sure I’ll see the two of them on the bill together in the not-too-distant future.

‘Ghost Coast’ is released worldwide on July 20th on AYOR Records.


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