gig reviews

Servers - Leave With Us

By Larry Day


Strutting out from the recently resuscitated Undergroove Records' flappy wing, South Yorkshire's finest fresh-faced hard rockers, Servers, are shooting a premiere torpedo/LP into the ether. Those who followed the label in its previous incarnation may be familiar with G.U. Medicine, the band that Servers' frontman Lee Storrar fronted once upon a yesteryear. Barnsley may not seem like the cyclic vortex from which the UK's most promising rock act in a long time emanates from, but hey-ho, c'est la vie.

First and foremost, let's talk about 'Universes and Supernovas (The Ride)', Server's debut single. As rock tracks go, you can't really get much better. Straddling pop and metal, they flip between toe-tappingly infectious pop melodies (not too distant from Alien Ant Farm's 'Movies'), doom-slathered goth choirs á la Muse at their most overwrought, and thrashing, flailing axes. It's a glorious potpourri of heavy noises. It's grandiose, crammed with heavyset emotion and triumphant orchestral strings. Even though it clocks in at over six minutes, you feel like it could go on for another six and no one would have any issues.

Other tracks, while not quite living up to the standard set by 'Universes and Supernovas' are still fantastic. 'Run With The Foxes' is crammed with tremolo guitars, sounding like Atreyu on a diet or classic metallers like Sabbath (with the gears kicked up); 'Mega High' is suitably huuuge stoner/desert rock with vocals that sound not unlike Josh Homme after chain-smoking eight packets of Marlboros; the macabre-waltz of 'King Things' utilises rhythmic experimentation as opposed to pure pace to ensure that the band retain attention at every twist. Nigh every track is a highlight here – from the maudlin pop-rock of 'Claustrophobia' to the Evanescence-aping 'Dangerous Devotion'. However, 'Universes and Supernovas' wears the crown as king of the LP.

The tightrope-walk between pop and metal is what sets Servers apart from rock's other newbies. Draped in low-slung six-stringers and belligerent beats, often the denizens of the genre opt for brutality, beards and volume over good songwriting. On ‘Leave With Us’, Servers forgo some of that brutality in favour of leviathan poppy hooks. They're the kind that you wake up with, the kind that race around your mind as you try and sleep – the kind that play ad infinitum on your deathbed. It's an unusual facet for a band with such a penchant for yowls and distortion to have, but one that works without fail and in fact bolsters their sound from 'just another rock band' to 'are these the only guys doing it right nowadays?'

This is a swaggering cigar-in-jaw foray into a fresh-sounding world. Metal and rock and pop have are all dead horses flogged until flayed like leather ribbons, but when smooshed together, they sound downright fabulous. There's no faulting the musicianship or ear for gold-medal tuneage on ‘Leave With Us’; Servers take an enormous leap with their debut, raising the bar high not only for themselves on future releases, but all consequent rock acts. There's a good chance we'll be ruined for any other rock band in 2014.

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