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The Costellos

The Costellos are a young band based in the north-east and get regular airtime on BBC Radio Newcastle. All aged 20, the 4 members combine to create a smooth, easy rock sound, reminiscent of Stereophonics’ ‘Maybe Tomorrow’. The band’s output is purely internet-based for now (links below), thus their music is easy to access. Three tracks in particular can be found on their SoundCloud page, and having spoken to the band, they have expressed interest in grouping these songs together in a mini EP.

The EP kicks off with ‘When She Arrives’, a guitar-driven song making use of melancholic reverb in the chorus and bridge sections. Yeung’s untrained vocals, counterintuitively, are perfect for this psychedelic-sounding track, adding to the atmosphere of freedom and desirable imperfection in the music. The vocals are relaxed and soft, meshing with the reverb and waterfall guitar lines beautifully to create a mellow feel in the song. Where many would expect the song to climax, the music descends into a punchy, drum and guitar-centric syncopated section with long, easy chords stretched out in the accompaniment. Followed by a more flowing polyphonic section, with guitar and vocal lines interweave nicely, the writing could be easily mistaken for that of a much more experienced songwriter. Whilst the recording could be tidied up in places, particularly at the start, this is a fantastically mellow track, and is well worth listening to on a lazy day.

‘Winterella’, an acoustic track, is the following track on the band’s mini EP. Overall, the track has a similar feel to ‘When She Arrives’ in terms of constant washy reverb and a laid-back aesthetic, but these ideas are more prominent here. The reverb fills out what otherwise would be perhaps emptiness in the track, lacking bass and drums. But this also provides a different challenge on the writing side of things, which the band have combatted through overdubbed acoustic guitar counter-melodies, reflecting and developing the melody of the vocal track. This is a successful strategy on the whole, as the addition of bass would perhaps overcomplicate and overfill the texture. However, maybe some very light percussion wouldn’t go amiss to add a differing sound to the high end. Nevertheless the song is certainly worth a listen, is a nice contrast, and is well placed to separate the more band-centric songs, aiding the flow of the EP as a whole.

The closing track is titled ‘When She Arrives’, and returns to an electric and band-orientated medium. The track opens with ethereal vocals, muted guitar and light drums before releasing into the main riff, which, as the title could imply, rises and falls like a wave. The vocal line alternates between the aforementioned ethereality and the more expected, clearer sound. This ethereality brings with it slower, calmer sections which are then always followed by a more pacey section. This never lets the track rest, and whilst this could be viewed as a negative, in this case it makes the track exciting and interesting to listen to. Perhaps on the first few listens the track’s divergence from standard song form make it difficult to follow, once this factor is overcome the song is a pleasure to listen to, with a very catchy melody and splashy cymbals broadening the texture very successfully.

Still a young group of musicians, The Costellos have made a very promising start to their musical careers. Although certainly a band worth checking out now, clearly there are bigger and better things to come, and I am looking forward to hearing more music from this exciting young prospect.

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The Costellos Facebook | Soundcloud

Will Lawton

I am a third year music student at the University of Leeds and am passionate about experiencing music. In my view, being able to hear, see and appreciate the human involvement in playing an instrument or singing is the most important thing.