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“A fascinating debut” **** – Scottish Daily Express

“A rather magical album, and definitely one of the finest releases of 2016, so far.” 9/10 -Louder Than War

“This Anglo/Scottish group cook up a pleasing patchouli oil scented blend of prog rock, pastoral folk and psyche soul.” **** – The Scotsman

“An album that is both gripping and haunting as it is elating.” – Penny Black Music

“The Eastern Swell have spawned a truly extraordinary assemblage of songs here.” – Pure M Magazine

“Aural treats abound.” – When You Motor Away

“If you choose to listen all the way through you’ll be repaid, and handsomely. Every moment counts with The Eastern Swell.” **** – IsThisMusic?

“Fragile vocals sounding exquisite.” – For Malcontents Only

“Potential definitely fulfilled.” –

“If one word had to be used to describe One Day, A Flood, the debut album from Scottish quartet The Eastern Swell, it has to be spellbinding.” – The Ringmaster Review

“Their unconventional approach, musical talent and intelligent lyricism make for an interesting and masterful album.” 7/10 –

Artist: The Eastern Swell
Title: Interview
Author: John Clarkson
Date Published: 22/12/2016

Edinburgh-based group The Eastern Swell have recently released their debut album, ‘One Day, A Flood’.

The band, which consists of Lainie Urquhart (vocals, tambourine), Chris Reeve (guitar, vocals), Neil Collman (bass, vocals) and Andy Glover (drums and percussion), first formed in 2014 out of the ashes of another Edinburgh outfit Lainie & The Crowes.

Breathtaking in its eclectism, ‘One Day, A Flood’ combines elements of folk, psychedelia, prog, punk and math rock, often in the same song, with thought-provoking, literate lyricism, and has been released on rising local label Stereogram Recordings (The Band of Holy Joy, the Cathode Ray, Roy Moller, Lola in Slacks, St. Christopher Medal and STOOR).

The tone of ‘One Day, A Flood’, as its sepia-coloured front cover which shows a girl crawling across a desolate landscape implies, is often bleak and intense.

Its tracks include titanic-sounding opener ‘Rattling Bones’, which reflects with a typically intelligent lyric about the need for stability as one gets older. The surging country rock of ‘What’s Done is Done’ is about the damage inadvertently that we do to each other when we are in a relationship, while the protagonist of blistering closer ‘Run Down Country Palace’ Miss Haversham-style decides it is safer to abandon the world rather to face it full-on.
The Eastern Swell
Pennyblackmusic spoke to main songwriter Chris Reeve about the Eastern Swell and ‘One Day, A Flood’.

PB: Who were Lainie & The Crowes? Was it the same line-up or was it an entirely different band?

CR: There was one other member who played guitar and also mandolin. I guess that psychologically speaking we were a different band because, although we otherwise had the same line-up, our sound was more Americana-oriented and in the direction of acts like Gillian Welch. There were touches of the sort of pastoral psychedelia that we do now. There were elements of that already there, but we were more rooted in Americana and also folk. We played together as Lainie & The Crowes for about a year and a half, and then changed our name to the Eastern Swell in 2014.

PB: Some of you are Scottish but some of you are from down South. Are you all based in Edinburgh now?

CR: Yes, we are all in Edinburgh. We all live near each other on the North side which makes things pretty easy. Neil and I are both from the South East and the outskirts of London originally, while Lainie and Andy are both from Edinburgh. Neil and I have lived in Edinburgh for many years though so it feels like home to us.

PB: Why did you call the album ‘One Day, A Flood’?

CR: Originally I had the idea of a longer title of ‘One Day, A Flood Will Come With The Rain’. The album is about the outpouring of various emotions, many of them dark, but there is also rapturous joy about the birth of a child on ‘Temples’. The music is also diverse in terms of its genres, and the idea of a flood – with this whole mix up of things happening and everything getting churned up together – seemed to fit. So, that was the working title and then Neil said, “Why don’t we shorten it down?” and so it became rather than saying the whole phrase more suggestive.

PB: The Eastern Swell spans many genres often in the same song. What do you see as your main influences or is that an impossible question?

CR: That is very difficult. Lainie loves that Americana sound, so we were listening to a lot of ‘One Day, A Flood’ when we were writing that album. I was also listening a lot to the Flaming Lips, Fairport Convention, Cat Power and Syd Barrett. I absolutely love Barrett’s stuff and early Pink Floyd. I love the fragility of his music and that sense in his lyrics that there is something dark underlying them. From the proggier end I was listening a lot to bands like King Crimson – I think ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’ is just incredible – and then there was a lot of early punk too which in turn referenced the 1970s and that scuzzy lo-fi sound of so much of that era. So, mix that together and that is probably the basis for ‘One Day, A Flood’.

PB: The music on ‘One Day, A Flood’ also involves lots of complicated time signatures. How easy or difficult was it writing the songs for this album?

CR: A lot of the songs I wrote for the album tended to have a melody or a chord or a hook, and I would work on that and have that as the structure of where we were going with the song. Then I would work on something else and there would often be points in which elements of songs would work their way into each other. I would bring them to rehearsal, and we would work out the differences in time signatures and stuff there. The songs tended to grow organically.
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I don’t recall them generally being particularly complicated to do. On the last section of ‘Too Little, Too Late’ which Neil wrote, he wanted something playful and complicated in terms of the time signatures and came up with a really lovely riff, but that needed quite a bit of work on it just so it sounded smooth. We always seemed to know where we were going with the songs. A lot of our songs come out sounding quite different than in their original drafts, but we all tend to understand how it is going to work overall.

PB: The album was produced by Pete Harvey who has worked with Mersault and King Creosote. What do you think he brought to the album?

CR: We told him that we had this this idea for creating an album like people used to listen to, a sort of 1960’s/1970’s record, the type of thing that you might have on vinyl and that you would listen to all the way through, and that we wanted it to have a prog/folk sound to it. He just seemed to know immediately the direction that we wanted to go in. He brought a brooding, dark sound to the lower registers. What we had done originally was record layer upon layer of guitars, and we recorded more than we needed. Pete has got a great ear for putting sounds together, and he proved very helpful at taking some of those out and keeping the bits which sounded best together. He also played cello on some tracks.

As he is an amazing musician and has worked with these great bands that are very successful, he was able to bring knowledge to the process which as it was our debut album was really useful to us. He helped to steer us. Creatively we were already a lot of the way there but once we explained it to him he knew exactly what we wanted.

PB: How did you become involved with Stereogram Recordings?

CR: I wanted if possible to put it out through a label because that I felt that would really help with getting it out and getting it heard. It is really difficult for bands that aren’t signed to labels. I researched a whole load of different record labels and Stereogram just seemed to have something.

The bands on the label were of a style and a sound that seemed to suit our sound. I am not saying that in terms of genre that they were the same because its roster ispretty eclectic, but the ethos seemed right and the influences of those bands are similar. If you listen to either the Cathode Ray or St. Christopher Medal, both their influences are very wide, but like us they take a lot from the 1960s and 1970s whereas, I guess, Lola in Slacks have a more of a ‘Velvet Underground and Nico’ sound, which again we take a lot from. Amazingly Jeremy Thoms, who owns Stereogram came back to us and was equally enthusiastic about us.

PB: If you listen to those bands and also the others on Stereogram Recordings, they also put a strong emphasis on their lyric-writing.

CR: I love literature. It is what I did my degree in, studying English Literature and I have always had a passion for writing. I see lyric writing as being like writing poetry. You’re right. The bands on Stereogram do have, I guess, a maturity in their lyricism.
PB: ‘Rattling Bones’ is about the impermanence of things and the need for stability as we get older. What inspired that?

CR: I will be forty in March. That impending milestone had a huge influence on that song. You have got to be happy when you get to these milestones, but it also brings things to mind the fragility of things.

PB: ‘What’s Done is Done’ reflects upon the agonies we put each other through whether we mean to or not. Do you think that is reflective of all relationships?

CR: Neil wrote ‘What’s Done is Done’, but we have talked about it, and, yes, I do. It is a universal theme. It is the sort of thing that T.S. Eliot talked about a lot in his poetry – the double-sidedness of love and relationships – and it is the same with everyone if they are being honest. It can deepen the relationship, I think. You might have an impact on people due to your own emotions, but at the same time more often than not it develops a stronger bond between people.

PB: ‘Run Down Country Palace’ is about someone who decides it is easier to abandon the world and hide away in a crumbling county mansion rather than face up to what is going on. Was that written about anyone in particular?

CR: If you lead a privileged life, it can be easy not to engage in things and to sit back and say, “Well, it is not something that I need to concern myself with. That is someone else’s problem.” It is a selfish attitude, but one which is quite easy to slip into. Although it is not aimed at anyone in particular, it is about that middle England kind of mentality.

PB: The cover of ‘One Day A Flood’, with its photograph of a girl crawling over a misty moor, is fantastic. Where was that cover photographed?

CR: I think it might have been Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh but I am not sure. The photo was taken by Wojtek Kutyla and he is a good friend of Neil’s. He is an artist and a photographer and he had lent us a lot of his photographs with the possibility of using one of them on the front cover and that one stood out. It kind of says it all. It has got the pastoral element and it looks very Scottish, but there is a mist falling and it looks very bleak and the figure is, as you say, crawling across an empty landscape and there are elements of the songs that mirror that. You’re not quite sure what is going on but you know that is not quite right.

PB: Will you be touring to promote ‘One Day, A Flood’?

CR: Yes, but not immediately because what happened after our launch gig for the album in September was that Andy and his wife wife had their first baby. We knew that we would have to take some time out for that, but hope to be back up and running soon. When everything has settled there, we will be doing more gigs and promoting things.

PB: What other plans do you have for the future? Have you begun work on the second album yet?

CR: I have written around nine songs and lyrics. They are not complete “songs”. I have brought them to the band to rework them. We have played them in rehearsal and a few of them we have had tentative goes at. Neil has some songs up his sleeve, so once Andy’s baby is settled we will also be working on that material as well.

PB; Thank you.

Talking About Scottish Culture So You Don’t Have To
New Musical Success: A Review Of The Best In New Music…

One of SWH!’s favourite acts of the last decade are The Bird & The Monkey, and there is something of their experimental sound in the music of The Eastern Swell, who also put me in mind of All About Eve and Trembling Bells. You could describe them as prog/folk/rock, if you needed to do such a thing. There is certainly something dark at their heart, as the single ‘Muckish Mountain’ suggests, but in the best possible sense. It’s the perfect song for a reflective New Year’s Day walk, at least it is if your Hogmanays are anything like mine. Their album One Day, A Flood received rave reviews on its release, and it looks like 2017 could be their year. Hear for yourself:

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OCTOBER 20th 2016
Daily Express Review The Eastern Swell
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Review:The Eastern Swell: “One Day, A Flood”
Label: Stereogram Recordings
Genre: Folk
Release Date: 16th September 2016
Author: Christopher Nosnibor
Our Rating:7/10

It’s usually the lazy journalist, or one who’s not been exposed to a suitably broad range of music, who will remark that a band are ‘difficult to pigeonhole’ or ‘unclassifiable,’ but it’s a fact that The Eastern Swell aren’t all that easy to place. Ostensibly, they’re a folk band, and with narrative lyrics backed by quite conventional folk instrumentation, in the form of bass, drums, guitar and violins. But ‘Rattling Bones’ opens with a rambunctious, Gallon Drunk-esque bassline and kicks into a hefty proggy jam, and also packs in an overtly rock guitar solo, before culminating in a post-rock crescendo.

Elements of classic rock and vintage prog are woven into the fabric of the songs throughout the album, often taking them off on sharp turns at unexpected points. The musicianship is impressive, and things hint toward Jethro Tullish noodlesomeness on ‘Too Little, Too Late’, but the band keep things on the right side of muso indulgence. It helps that the songs are all highly structured and none are overlong. And while it’s often a flaw of albums of a proggy persuasion to abandon hooks and head off on different trajectories, leaving the listener feeling somehow cheated. Sunny pop melts into medieval folk vibes on ‘What’s Done is Done’, before the reflective, introspective and vaguely mournful ‘1000 Yard Stare’ returns to more conventional folk territory.

They’re not averse to playing with convention in the lyrical department, either, using imagery which superficially espouses conventional folk tropes, and then subverting it with a tidy twist (take ‘Sun’s going down / The peat’s blackened my boots / The Irish turf is dark at the roots / and so are you’ from ‘Muckish Mountain’ by way of an example). In combination, their unconventional approach, musical talent and intelligent lyricism make for an interesting and masterful album.
Manic Pop Thrills
Alternative (sic) music of the last 30 years
October 9, 2016 · by manicpopthrills

The Eastern Swell – One Day, A Flood (Stereogram)

Edinburgh’s Stereogram Recordings seem to have the uncanny knack of finding bands that I know nothing about yet find very much to my taste. I’m not quite sure how they do it but, to be honest, I’m starting to suspect there’s some form of dark musical sorcery going on here.

Anyhow, putting aside that slightly worrying thought, The Eastern Swell are the latest addition to the Stereogram roster and their debut LP ‘One Day, A Flood’ was released a couple of weeks back.

It’s a record that draws on various genres of which I profess ignorance but I’m definitely getting something quite seventies off certain elements and whilst there’s also a more pastoral element to a number of the tunes

The fact that there are male and female vocalists helps expand the band’s range, but ultimately it’s a record that thrives on the tension generated by two extremes. On one hand there’s a heavier, guitar driven side to the band but there’s also unquestionably a softer side to the Eastern Swell

For the former the album’s arrival is heralded by the memorable riff of ‘Rattling Bones’ and there’s plenty of inspired fretwork throughout even if garage rocker ‘Dancing Zombie Blue’ is the one out and out up tempo number. Having said that, despite a slower cadence, ‘Quick As A Whip’ matches it for sheer rock attitude with its feedback and guitar solos .

At the other end of the spectrum, the band are capable of quieter, introspective songs such as ‘Temples’ which has an almost folky feel.

However, the album’s best moments come when the two extremes are meshed together such as on the aforementioned ‘Rattling Bones’ and on the bluesy ‘What’s Done Is Done’. The killer track though is probably the closing song ‘Run Down Country Palace’ which boasts both the album’s best melody and a rather ferocious guitar coda.

Stereogram are undoubtedly a label with superlative taste and whilst the Eastern Swell sit nicely in the broad range of Stereogram bands they have also managed to carve their own distinctive niche. Check it out.
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The Eastern Swell: One Day, A Flood album review
By Dave Simpson

Scottish experimental rock ensemble The Eastern Swell started to turn heads in November of 2014 when their psych-Americana infused inaugural EP received a warm welcome from pundits and public alike. A year of tireless touring and fan-base building followed before they finally returned to the studio to begin work on their dynamic debut album, One Day, A Flood.

Arriving online on September 16th, the intriguing nine track undertaking opens with the ominous riff of “Rattling Bones”. This is succeeded by a solemn serenade which stirs the senses ahead of a quiet but characterful chorus. There’s an extremely atmospheric trait to the whole thing that keeps it compelling through to its delightfully dark denouement. “What’s Done Is Done” feels foreboding again then, maintaining a meditative mood amid mellow melodies and ambient music. The outcome is a mesmerising mixture of folk and rock which embeds itself deep in the mind and refuses to withdraw.
The Eastern Swell 650 x 650
“1,000 Yard Stone” is another enchanting addition next that haunts with its hypnotic harmonies and eerie undertone. “Temples” tones things down when it’s done, showcasing an assortment of resonant refrains, affable riffs and spellbinding strings. “Muckish Mountain” remains reserved yet riveting in its wake, displaying an endearing duet atop affecting instrumentation.

“Too Little, Too Late” invigorates via vivifying vocals and graceful guitars afterwards until “Quick as a Whip” takes over to thrill with distorted guitars and spry singing. It all culminates in an exhilarating instrumental exhibition that acts as an appropriately pressing preface to the rapid rhythm established by “Dancing Zombie Blues”. This fantastically fast and fiery offering races rousingly in the direction of the discreet drumming and penetrating riffs which introduce “Run Down Country Palace”. A long and enlivening endeavour unfolds from here, ensuring the record is afforded a diverse finish.

The Eastern Swell have spawned a truly extraordinary assemblage of songs here, the subtle psychedelic style of which results in a refreshingly unique auditory experience. If you’re seeking some introspective music with a dramatic twist, then this is well-equipped to cure your craving. Check it out for yourself on iTunes now.
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This is not music criticism. On this blog, you will only read about music we like.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The Eastern Swell – One Day, A Flood

I’ve had One Day, A Flood by Edinburgh-based The Eastern Swell on my car’s CD changer for the past week. When I got home yesterday evening I got out of the car to open the garage bay while the stereo was still playing the album. In the dying sunlight with the beginning of the Fall leaves swirling around my feet, I realized the perfect timing of the release. One Day, A Flood is an album for Autumn, for increasing darkness, unpredictable weather, inevitable decay, and dark clouds and rain. I don’t mean to suggest that it is depressing — far from it. But it is an album of layered moods and uncertainties. Yeah, it is music for adults, and whether I like it or not, I’m at that stage of life.

The music is a somewhat unusual combination of folk rock, alt country and progressive rock. Yes, that means that there will be hints of Led Zeppelin (but only hints and absent the warlock posturing). The haunting vocals are high in the mix, but even when the band isn’t reaching for high volume, the arrangements barely contain an omnipresent current of lower-register, bass-heavy power and emotional conviction. My favorites are the opening “Rattling Bones” and the epic country-tinged prog rock closer “Run Down Country Palace”, but aural treats abound and a scan of other reviews reveal that many of the tracks have impressed the music press, which is a sign of consistent quality.
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By Roy Moller • Sep 18th, 2016 • Category: long players

A versatile troupe, The Eastern Swell. Whether helmed by the vocals of Lainie Urquhart or her male co-mariners, Chris Reeve and Neil Collman, their debut album rocks like a destroyer and glides like a gondola. Lead single Rattling Bones kicks off with a frenetic bass riff, a fast-approaching storm suddenly softening to an elegiac love song that rebuilds thrillingly, the chords taking unexpected directions till the bass riff returns, the guitar solo joins it and the swell intensifies. Propelled by the articulate drumming of Andy Glover, What’s Done Is Done smears urgent rhythms with reverberations of psychedelia, vocals ascending quite gloriously – shades of Crosby, Stills and Nash locking heads and guitars in some blustery arena. CSN surface again in Too Little, Too Late whilst 1000 Yard Stare launches itself from an incantation recalling the Zombies of Odessey and Oracle spliced with a nervy psych folk nugget.

Dancing Zombie Blues, meanwhile, presents a different sort of Zombie, one who would bang his head to Hawkwind toying with the Gene Vincent riff book A repetitive vocal riff from Led Zeppelin’s Rock & Roll grapples its way aboard Quick As A Whip. It’s a knowing steal, surely: I like its shamelessness.
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The band recommends listening to this album at a single sitting. Here I would issue a caveat – late night listener beware, unless you relish your plangent reveries being interrupted by tidal waves of wigged-out rock. Back on Led Zep III the band got the Nordic bludgeon of Immigrant Song out the way first before clearing the deck for modal folk and sweeping blues.

In calmer waters, the gentle acoustic Temples and Trader Horne-ish Muckish Mountain are top drawer folk rock. The records closes with Run Down Country Palace, which marries The Cowboy Junkies to a Marshall stack. It’s an invigorating service, with Reverend Wah-Wah presiding. For all its precision and adeptness, One Day, A Flood doesn’t rely on those passages of overly tasteful orchestration which pad out the grooves of a whole host of indie folkies from British Sea Power to The Unthanks. If you choose to listen all the way through you’ll be repaid, and handsomely. Every moment counts with The Eastern Swell.
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The Eastern Swell – One Day, A Flood (Stereogram Recordings) CD/DL 9/10 Written by Gus Ironside. 17th September, 2016

Another contender for Album of the Year? Edinburgh prog-folk quartet The Eastern Swell’s compelling debut further enhances Stereogram Recordings’ roster of talented misfits.

Jeremy Thoms and Innes Reekie seem to have a knack for unearthing intriguing misfits. Their Edinburgh-based label Stereogram Recordings boasts a roster of diverse talents united by strong songwriting and a tendency to march to their own beat. With The Eastern Swell, they may just have signed their most fascinating act yet.

Sometimes, an album projects such a powerful sense of otherness that you don’t want to find out too much about the individuals responsible for creating the mystique, lest the spell be broken. Such is the case with ‘One Day, a Flood’. Heralded by the excellent single ‘Rattling Bones’, also the opening track on the album, this accomplished debut captures an air of pastoral unease reminiscent of Jackie Leven’s below-the-radar debut album, the lost acid-folk masterpiece, ‘Control’.

The group’s intelligent deployment of tricky time signatures and producer Pete Harvey’s string arrangements emphasise the prog-folk element to the songs, implying a connection to the cultural no-man’s land betwixt hippie and punk, the early to mid 70s. Lead vocals are shared between Lainie Urquhart, Chris Reeve and Neil Collman, the line-up being completed by Andy Glover on drums. The overall mood is one of vulnerability, evoking long-lost nuggets from the darker fringes of early 70s prog, such as Hoelderlin’s ‘Requiem Für Einen Wicht’ (1972) and Peter Hammill’s ‘The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage’ (1974).

Conjuring a world that’s simultaneously intimate, alluring and subtly disquieting, The Eastern Swell are no mere prog revivalists. There are echoes of Wilco’s Bill Fay-inspired work, inventive chord progressions that wouldn’t be out of place on a Radiohead album, and- the magic ingredient that makes this album so enjoyable- a puckish spirit evoking the current US garage-psych scene centred around Castle Face Records.

Highlights abound: ‘What’s Done is Done’ is a perfect psych gem, echoing The Pretty Things in their S.F.Sorrow era; ‘1000 Yard Stare’ inventively marries Syd Barrett/early Pink Floyd to the Pixies, and ‘Temples’ is tender and affecting.

The mood changes in the closing run of songs. ‘Quick as a Whip’ starts off as a playful, Black Keys-style Led Zep homage, before morphing into psych-folk territory, while ‘Dancing Zombie Blues’ brings to mind Thee Oh-Sees covering one of Hawkwind’s early, proto-punk singles. Album closer ‘Run-Down Country Palace’ brings together all the disparate elements of this remarkable group, with waves of fuzz guitars topped by a woozy psych solo, sweeping the album to its conclusion.

What makes ‘One Day, a Flood’ such a triumph is its successful integration of 70s progressive folk motifs with a contemporary sensibility. The resulting album is playful, inventive and evocative, combining an unsettling sense of dislocation with a sense of child-like wonder. A rather magical album, and definitely one of the finest releases of 2016, so far.
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Saturday 15th September 2016. Review by Fiona Shepherd
Scotsman Review The Eastern Swell 1
Scotsman Review The Eastern Swell 2
For Malcontents Only logo
West Coast, East Coast (Cool Ghouls & The Eastern Swell) September 15, 2016

Stereogram is as near a guarantee of quality as it is possible to get on a small Scottish independent label. So far they’ve released music by For Malcontents Only favourites Lola in Slacks, the rejuvenated James King and The Lonewolves and The Cathode Ray, three acts that have all made recent appearances in my end of the year best of lists.

This impressive roster has recently been bolstered by two highly tipped new acts, Those Unfortunates – a London band I intend to feature in the coming weeks – and The Eastern Swell, an Edinburgh based four-piece consisting of Chris Reeve, Lainie Urquhart, Neil Collman and Andy Glover – whose debut album, a selection of songs about love and loss called One Day, a Flood is just about to be released.

Like Cool Ghouls, there’s an element of psych in the sound of The Eastern Swell, although on the spectrum of that genre, they veer much closer to the pastoral folk end of the scale rather than to the classic California variety.

Run Down Country Palace, which is perhaps their finest song, reminds me of Espers at times, as does 1000 Yard Stare, while on Temples, they stray into Shelagh McDonald territory with Lainie Urquhart’s fragile vocals sounding exquisite.

Traces of West Coast America are, though, discernible in a couple of their songs; What’s Done is Done and Too Little, Too Late both incorporating that laid back mid ’70s LA feel, best epitomised by Fleetwood Mac.

Admirably, The Eastern Swell aren’t scared to throw a real touch of unpredictability into the equation though, and this comes here in the shape of Dancing Zombie Blues, a frenetic sub-three minute blast that somehow resembles Eugene Reynolds of The Rezillos covering The Living End by The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Appropriately enough for an album that often seems infused with a real autumnal feel, One Day, a Flood is out tomorrow, just as leaves are starting to fall (my birthday too incidentally but don’t feel you have to bombard me with lavish presents, folks). It will be available on CD or as a download.

The Ringmaster Review
The Eastern Swell – “One Day, A Flood” Album review by The RingMaster 15th September 2016

If one word had to be used to describe One Day, A Flood, the debut album from Scottish quartet The Eastern Swell, it has to be spellbinding. From the first listen the tapestry of genres which shape its songs catches the imagination but it is with subsequent listens that the real bewitchment blossoms. Inspired by and weaving together essences from the likes of progressive folk, experimental rock, and neo-psychedelia among numerous other flavours, The Eastern Swell combines poetic storytelling and melodic suggestiveness in one impressive captivation.

Edinburgh formed, The Eastern Swell emerged in 2014; the Anglo-Scottish foursome of guitarist/vocalist Chris Reeve, vocalist Lainie Urquhart, bassist/vocalist Neil Collman, and drummer Andy Glover first going by the name of Lainie & The Crows. With a well-received EP, name change, and the signing with excellent Scottish label Stereogram Recordings under their belts, the band set about creating their debut album with producer Pete Harvey (Modern Studies, Meursault, and King Creosote) in his own Pumpkinfield Studios. Themed by tales of “about vulnerability and the frailties of being human”, One Day, A Flood casts individual reflections linked by the underlying premise and a fluid movement from one song to another. Enjoyably working individually, the album’s tracks also impressively create a single experience which is just as potent, maybe even more so, taken in one listen. With self-admitted inspirations to the band, when creating One Day, A Flood, including the likes of Syd Barrett, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, Pixies, Thee Oh Sees, Cat Power, and Gillian Welch, it is fair to say that the album is a rich collusion of styles and flavours honed into one kaleidoscope of imagination.

The album opens with the outstanding Rattling Bones, a track drenched in drama and emotive intensity. A sonic mist first encases ears, this quickly followed by a gloriously evocative riff soon joined by an equivalent lure from the bass. A sudden drop into a sombre air of melancholy with a dour but tempting melody, as the warm tones of Urquhart caresses ears and thoughts, then enjoyably wrong foots. Soon though, the track develops a lively stroll to its gait, marked by the bold roll of rhythms as provocative strings from guest Pete Harvey further toy with the imagination. The song is superb, a seamless patchwork of enterprise and creative hues setting the scene and character of the album.
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What’s Done Is Done is next up; sharing the dark throated riffs and bass tone of its predecessor as essences of psychedelia and late sixties/early seventies melodic rock merge and the great blend of harmonies across Urquhart, Reeve, and Collman embrace. It oozes a seductive touch with every exotic sigh, warm surges and electric impulses uniting in a gentle but dynamic rousing of ears and spirit. The excellent proposition is followed and matched in temptation by 1000 Yard Stare where the vocal mix again grabs attention as they immediately cradle ears while psych and folk pop streams of enterprise kiss the imagination. Crescendos of lo fi intensity contrast and work perfectly with this golden glow of voice and melody, the compelling encounter almost tempestuous at times in its Wicker Man like climate and emotion.

The acoustic grace and warm melancholy of Temples is next, Urquhart’s voice uniting with the evocative strains of the cello before brighter guitar melodies and quaintly lit keys dance in ears. Its captivating low key proposal is echoed in the individually bold serenade of Muckish Mountain straight after before Too Little, Too Late reveals its own swing of rhythmic hips and melodic gaiety. Once more the fine and contrasting blend of male and female vocals seduces, a match emulated in the dark throes of the rhythms and radiant smile of guitars and keys. With a subsequent hook to lust after, the song is an intimate yet all-embracing festival of sound and energy providing another major highlight to One Day, A Flood.

The fuzzier air of Quick As A Whip makes a swift engaging between song and ears, harmonies and warm textures only reinforcing its potency before the album’s best moment arrives in the shape of Dancing Zombie Blues. Like a devilish concoction bred from The Dead Weather, Bird Blobs, and Old House Playground, the song rattles and rolls with gothic folk majesty, coming to an abrupt end from which a sonic wash brews and develops into closing enticement Run Down Country Palace. Its nature is of similar breeding though once its raw climate is set, the track’s electric veil parts for the reflective charms of vocals, strings, and a folk honed melodic appraisal. As all tracks though, things are never straight forward, The Eastern Swell creating tapestries that perpetually move and evolve.

Another reward provide is that One Day, A Flood never seems to stop growing in ears and imagination listen by listen, creating an adventure very easy to recommend from a band in The Eastern Swell that we will surely be hearing much more of ahead.
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Review: Charlie Elland

Back in 2014 I reviewed a short EP from Edinburgh-based Lainie and The Crows, and described what I heard as: “… obvious touches of Americana, a tinge of country-rock and a soupcon of psychedelic folk blending organ-wash with vibrant guitar overlaid by longing female vocals.” Despite the paucity of tracks I was also forced to admit: “…there’s something good going on here but I guess we wait for the album to really get inside their music.”

Fast forward to 2016 and an album arrives from a band called The Eastern Swell, also an Edinburgh band influenced, in their own words, by “… progressive folk, experimental rock, neo-psychedelia.” And no surprises for guessing it’s the same outfit, and it’s fair to state that the potential of that EP has definitely been fulfilled. Now a four-piece, here comes ‘One Day, A Flood’ – the music is tougher, rounder and fuller, there’s still those female vocals ranging through sombre yearning to assertive declaration, tightly-delivered backing vocals, the driving guitar still comes on strong while bass and drums lay down a solid foundation. The influence of Americana is reduced, psych and folk-rock elements increased, the sound is progressive and will doubtless add fuel to the never-ending folk-not-folk debate. And there will doubtless be criticism coming my way for reviewing ‘One Day, A Flood’ on a folk website – and no, I’m not bothered.

The songs are dark yet at times hopeful, covering frailty, fear, deliverance and belief; tracks to watch out for are ‘Rattling Bones’, ‘1000 Yard Stare’, ‘Temples’, ‘Dancing Zombie Blues’ and the magnificent ‘Run Down Country Palace’.

The Eastern Swell are Lainie Urquhart (vocals, tambourine) Chris Reeve (guitar, vocals) Neil Collman (bass) and Andy Glover (drums, percussion) with Pete Harvey (cello, Rhodes) on selected tracks.
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Interview with The Eastern Swell – Rattling Bones
by Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman August 10, 2016

Some bands appear to arrive fully formed from the off. All their influences, musical stylings and concepts are in place, the flaws ironed out, right through to the final execution with every piece intact.

The Eastern Swell are one such beast. An Anglo-Scottish outfit, formed in Edinburgh in 2014, the final pieces of the jigsaw were the name change from Lainie & The Crows to The Eastern Swell and signing to Edinburgh’s Stereogram Recordings.

Produced by Pete Harvey (of Modern Studies, Meursault and King Creosote repute) in his own Pumpkinfield Studios, “One Day, A Flood” is an album ideally listened to right through as a whole in a single sitting. A proper album in the 60s/70s sense. Many of the tracks are linked together so that despite wide-scoping musical styles, there is an underlying cohesion.

Musically it spans many genres – folk, neo-psychedelia, pastoral-psych, punk, psych, prog and late 60s/70s rock can all be detected in places. There are some pretty interesting and tricky time signatures in there too, which add a math-rock element.

In this interview, we virtually sit down with Eastern Swell to discuss the new project, influences, and more.
THE EASTERN SWELL - Rattling Bones 620 x 620
Full Q&A below.

Let’s dive a little deeper into You, the artist and your music. What attracted you to this genre(s) or style(s)?

We’ve got a pretty wide range of genres in our music. Folk, neo-psychedelia, pastoral-psych, punk, psych, prog and late 60s/70s rock can all be detected in places. This has just build up over the course of lifetime of listening to great music, no matter the genre.

How long have you been creating and sharing your music with the public?

We came together in 2014 and got gigging straight away, honing our sound and cohesion as a band.

Who or what influences your playing and/or writing? Also, what motivates you to keep going?

Our influences include 60/70s era artists such as Syd Barrett, mid-period Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, Stevie Nicks and Todd Rundgren through to more (relatively) contemporary artists such as the Pixies, Thee Oh Sees, Cat Power, Gillian Welch and Tame Impala. What keeps us going? The love of creating music of course! Simple as that.

Were you trying to accomplish anything specific on this new project? Creatively or otherwise?

The single Rattling Bones comes from our forthcoming debut album “One Day, A Flood” which will be released through the Stereogram Recordings label. The album was produced by Pete Harvey (of Modern Studies, Meursault and King Creosote repute). Ideally, it’s listened to right through as a whole, in a single sitting. A proper album in the 60s/70s sense. Many of the tracks are linked together so that despite wide-scoping musical styles, there is an underlying cohesion.

What was the last song you listened to?

Chris has had I’m In Your Mind Fuzz by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard on repeat. They’re a great live band and that record captures something of the full-tilt vibe they can create.

Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CDs? MP3s?

They all serve a purpose! Vinyl is brilliant because it’s visceral and there’s something of a ceremony in getting the needle on the record. The sound quality can also be great and it allows for great album cover art. CDs are like a more practical version of that and have their own unique vibe which we love too. MP3s allow for music to potentially reach the widest audience, so they’re also cool. We’ve opted for CD and download for our forthcoming album, “One Day, A Flood”.

How about this one…. Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?

Spotify has everything…it’s a gift that just keeps giving. Saying that, it would be amazing to get even better sound quality into the digital format! Bandcamp is a great source of music too.

Other than the digital era overwhelming us with access to an abundance of music, what are one or two of the biggest challenges you face when trying to attract listeners to your music?

Because we span such a range of genres, it’s sometimes hard to explain our sound in an easy digestible sound-bite. But we’ve found that once people actually hear our stuff they realize how it all fits together.

Do you gig, tour or perform? Do you ever live stream? Where can music lovers see you live?

We gig pretty regularly in Scotland, so that’s the best place to catch us. We’d love to do a US tour though, if that was even in the offing.

Where is the best place to connect with you online? Discover more of your music?

Our Facebook page, the Stereogram Recordings website, Bandcamp, Spotify and all good music outlets!

Any last thoughts? Shout outs? Words of wisdom?

Keep an eye out for debut album, due for release on 16 September 2016. Happy days!
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The Eastern Swell: Rattling Bones
By Jamie McDonald – 26th August 2016

Edinburgh band The Eastern Swell are set for a busy September with the release of their debut album, ‘One Day, A Flood’, out on the 16th of September. 7ahead have had a sneak preview of the new single, Rattling Bones (out on the 2nd of September), from the forthcoming LP.

The track is a moody storm of strings and lucid harmonies set in direct opposition to some intriguing chord choice and overtly rocky guitar. Lead singer, Lainie Urqhuart adds to the thematic haunting with her trepidations on growing old and falling out of love. It’s a truly murky number.

The instrumentation runs thick and heavy amid Urqhuart’s fearful cry with the bass sitting at the root of the aggression in the song. The drum sound is perhaps a little weak for what the band are well on the way to achieving. The cymbals somewhat cancel out the rattle of the snare that the track needs but this is only a minor deflection from the gritty realism in Lainie’s expression. There’s still that weird and wonderful prog-rock feel which really comes in to its own towards the bookend of the track. This is a proper anthemic rock song which isn’t afraid to experiment with the wider outreaches of the progressive.