A Classic Education - The First EP
Simon Jay Catling 12/06/2008
When, like me, you are sitting outside in the glorious sunshine with nothing to do in the foreseeable future other than turning over to make sure that your back gets a good browning (and this is in the North East folks! Who said global warming was a bad thing?), then bands like A Classic Education are pretty the only type of music you ever need listen to at this point in time. The Italian-based three piece (six when performing live), release their first EP only a year after forming, and for such a fledgling effort the five songs in here contain cohesion and poise that can only come across as a pleasant surprise.
Support slots with the likes of Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse have clearly rubbed off on A Classic Education, their sound falling somewhere in between the two and with traces of underrated Swede's Last Days Of April thrown in for good measure. 'Stay, Son' is the rousing, foot tapping opener, with lush strings shaping and moulding four minutes of orchestral tinged pop. Don't mistake this for some band who've merely seen Canada's finest make it big and decided to hop on the bandwagon though; the lead vocals come across as emotional and heartfelt and the EP as a whole tugs at the heart strings with real passion. 'Lovers Barricade' drifts into murkier territory, the percussion and guitars meeting somewhere down in the depths before a crescendo rises out of the mist. 'Victories At Night' very much follows the path of the lead off track; settling itself down into the rootsier areas of American alternative indie as hauntingly deep, booming drums settle into the background, allowing the vocals to soar and cut through the atmosphere before another slow build up leads into another emphatic ending. A Classic Education could be criticised here for following a similar pattern a little too often, finding an agreeable sound and sticking to it rather too resolutely, and it's something that might begin to tire in the context of an entire album. Here though it does just fine and the dreamlike saunter through 'Badlands & Owls' really allows the percussion and strings to work in harmony to provide the most straight ahead pop song on the EP. 'Wartime' provides an understated end to proceedings, sounding like iLiKETRAiNS if they stopped singing about history for a bit.
For a first full EP this is extremely promising, and with an appearance at Indie Tracks Festival coming up this summer, it could be that A Classic Education prove to be one of the hits of the weekend. 'First EP' is a collection of songs that whilst at times suffer a little from over similarity, clearly show a band with their hearts and passions in the right place. And on a delightful summer's day what more could you want?
First EP is available from