We’ve lived in Scotland. We know the drill. On the scale of great musical exports from the north, Prides could go one of three ways: CHVRCHES (good), Calvin Harris (meh), or full-on John Barrowman (please God make it stop).
Where The Way Back Up falls on our Scottish scale is a suspense we’ll keep going for a bit longer while we assess the trio’s debut offering. They know their way around synth-pop, that’s for sure – I Should Know You Better and Messiah (the album highlight) open the album with stadium-sized riffs and choruses, with the level of confidence that a band in its infancy has no right to have. Then again they did play the Commonwealth Games, so there is some degree of bolsh to be expected, which might explain the giant beats of Linger On (which is so good it wouldn’t be out of place on 1989 – except, womp womp, you’ll only find it on the deluxe version).
But it’s all a bit tick-box and sanitised. Let It Go and similar ballads seem to be there for perfunctory measure, while songs like Little Danger evoke a sort of 90s boy-band feel (not in a good way) between all the 80s throwback sounds. Still, there are enough power-packed moments here for this not to be a debacle of Barrowman-esque proportions, which sort of adequately leaves Prides as the synth-pop version of Calvin Harris: likely to fill arenas, but not doing anything vastly original in the process.
The Way Back Up by Prides can be ordered here.