I like the way ‘One’ starts, with ‘Under China’ patiently slow-burning its way to a catchy chorus. It takes a full minute for the first guitar to pop up, preceded by gentle vocals and minimalist instrumentation, sounding almost like chill-out music. The odd, extended theme of crockery helped to hold my interest, even if I have no idea what that’s about either.
When the guitars do blast their way through, they don’t do anything special, but the whole effect works well. The emphasis is firmly on lead singer Zoe White Chambers, who’s voice is slightly reminiscent of Ellie Goulding, but with an infinitely better sound backing her.
Because each song relies heavily upon Chambers, track 2, ‘Liquid’, struggles a little in my book. It begins with a grating repetition: “Can we talk?/Can we talk?”. Then an annoying looped vocal accompanies each verse, which is a shame, seeing as the chorus is quite decent.
The next song, ‘If’ is a welcome return to the formula used in the opener, with a nicely controlled build-up to the chorus. Where ‘Under China’ concentrates on tea accessories, this track focuses on snow and lights: “Lights dressed up the streets/And diamonds they sparkled, on the arms of the tress”. Once again, Auction For The Promise Club escape my understanding.
But I much prefer them being enigmatic than the uninspired alternative: “You can’t fall in love/You have given up/Goodnight romance/Just dance, dance, dance/Right up in the front row/Can’t be too close”. Those lyrics are from the final track, which is not too bad otherwise, if a little poppy. For me they need a bit more of an edge, but here are four nicely composed songs that show promise, if you’ll excuse the pun.