Friday, May 24, 2024

I Divide – Last One Standing

Since winning the 2012 Red Bull Bedroom Jam, Exeter boys I Divide have been building a fanbase through hard work and club shows/support slots up and down the UK. But in a market that’s currently seeing plenty of up-and comers with great potential, can I Divide make their mark on the British rock scene? If ‘Last One Standing‘ is anything to go by, the answer might just be yes.

Helping them to stand out from the crowd, frontman Tom Kavanagh has a particularly strong voice – similarities can be drawn to Jonny Craig-era Emarosa, with clear moments of light and shade and the ability to convey emotional sincerity. A sense of defiance and a fighting spirit is a clear theme throughout the album, both lyrically and in Kavanagh’s delivery. Opening track ‘Follow Me‘ makes a great use of these vocal skills, with a  powerful chorus and a great balance of heavier guitars and a singalong chorus. It’s something I Divide do well, and the rest of the album is peppered with catchy choruses – see ‘Living In A Hurricane’ and ‘Run Away’ as prime examples.I DIVIDE

A noticeable trait throughout the album is how well crafted and skilful it is from an instrumental perspective – with guitars borrowed from their heavier contemporaries, particularly in the crashing ‘Tell Me Something’, which has a beautiful yet subtle complexity within the guitar work. ‘Monster In Me’ is perhaps one of the more experimental of tracks, with some great opening riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a much more ‘metal’ album. Sometimes the moments of experimentation don’t work so well; the stop-start effect at the end of ‘Say It Isn’t So’ is strange and in  my opinion unnecessary – but despite it not paying off in this instance, it shows that the band aren’t afraid to take a few risks, which bodes well for future progression.

Plenty of British rock bands have pulled in some great guest vocals in recent times, and for ’27 Down‘, the boys are joined by Rebecca Need-Menear of Anavae. Although her performance provides a powerful interlude, it feels slightly added in – more layering in the final chorus of the song could have added another dimension to the track.

Although much of the album has a hard and fast feel, with no real soft tracks, there’s still plenty enough variety within songs to stop the tracks from blending into just one meteor of noise. ‘Cold At The Bottom’ has a piano-led intro that wouldn’t be out of place on a Deaf Havana record, and ‘I’m Not Leaving’ is a great demonstration of how to create a great build-up within a song.

‘Last One Standing’ is a powerful and solid release, with very little to fault – a genuinely exciting album. I Divide are a band that work tirelessly, clearly mastering their craft with style and passion, and truly deserving of standing out to be one of the big breakthrough up-and-coming rock acts of 2014.

8.5/10

I Divide ‘Last One Standing‘ is out now via Destroy Everything.

Milly Youngman
Milly Youngman
'Grown up' emo kid and pop punk lover (with plenty of everything else in the mix too). Life and style blogger at mini-adventures.com and former arts writer and editor.

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