(Small Pond session)
words by tom johnson
When Tall Ships announced that this Christmas would be their last as a band we tweeted something suitably dramatic about how this website wouldn’t exist as it does without them. A hyperbolic reaction it might have been, but it’s also absolutely true. Our first ever interview and feature, way back in early 2010, and before we’d done any kind of work to justify their warm invitation, the band took us behind-the-scenes in to their recording studio, fed us some bad cups of tea, posed for photos, talked us through their forthcoming new EP; grateful, welcoming, and really, really fucking good.
Over the preceding years we’ve watched them grow, both first-hand and far away, from sweaty dive bars to bigger festival stages, watched, always, a little glint in the eye, a little knot of pride as these new friends of ours made songs and records that we loved, and more and more people came to love – becoming a part of our lives in ways that had nothing to do with all the above context and everything to do with a special band writing special songs, time and time again.
Never afraid to chop and change their initial blueprint, the band steered their sound in to something more wholesome and heartfelt over the years, the energetic casio-pop of their early work shifted, tectonically, in to tender evocations of love and loss, wordy and wonderful.
Indicative of this growth, we’re very pleased to share a new video from the band, a week or so ahead of their three final live shows, taking place in Bristol, Leeds, and London and detailed below. The stripped-back version of ‘Will To Life’ – a momentous track from their Impressions LP, released earlier this year – was recorded earlier this year at the Small Pond studios in Brighton – and you can check it out below right now.
“But there’s no denying, you poured the light in,” Ric Phethean sings, at the song’s mid-point, and as extravagant a declaration as it might be, for many of us, that’s exactly what this band did, show after show, record after record; carrying you and me, illuminating the darkness as best they could.
There’s so much more to say but we’ll end with a sincere and simple ‘thank you’. Thank you, Tall Ships. Thanks for it all.
‘Impressions’ is out now, via FatCat Records. You can buy it here