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SENSES – Little Pictures Without Sound

SENSES – Little Pictures Without Sound

Little Pictures Without Sound is the debut album from Coventry band, SENSES. Encompassing elements of indie, angst-rock and Britpop, SENSES are playing in a distinctly nineties-sounding sandbox here and yet they somehow manage to put a refreshingly melodic and anthemic spin on things. Little Pictures Without Sound is more than a mere nostalgia trip. SENSES stamp their own identity upon this collection right from the very first sampled piece of dialogue that launches proceedings.

It has been a challenge for the band to get this record out. They have been incubating a lot of this music since the pandemic. Three singles preceded the long player. All are included and each is as catchy as the last but ‘We’re Not Wanted’ is arguably the most ‘radio friendly’ earworm of all. (Check it out for yourself below.) That said, personally I’ve always had a soft spot for preceding single ‘Drop Your Arms’, a stomper in the vein of Doves ‘Pounding’ but elevated by frontman Brian Callan who manages to make the line “is this the best dream you ever had” sound like “sis-sister…”. I can’t honestly put my finger on why this delights me so much but it does. One of the vagaries of rock n roll, simply.

The middle of the album hosts the distinctly Mancunian sounding, ‘It Comes From Within’. I feel like re-naming this ‘It Comes From Within… The M60’, so evocative it is of many classic Manchester acts. It’s a standout however we choose to spin it but the rest is quality too with each new play revealing something different. Guitarist Kevin Kavanagh recalls Jez Williams at times but at other moments he brings to mind Rob Marshall or even The Edge. Vocals are excellent throughout – just the right side of gravely, lending weight to the adversity over which these songs have undoubtedly triumphed. And it’s all held together by the rhythm section of Ian Finnegan and Rónán O’Connor, who, for my money, stick the landing each and every time here.

If Oasis wanted to be The Beatles (with a dash of T Rex and Sex Pistols) then SENSES are walking their own, adjacent path, standing on the shoulders of ‘different’ giants and mixing genres as effortlessly as I’m mixing my metaphors. The album closes with the hymn-like ‘A Truly Beautiful Disaster’. If there was justice in the world SENSES would be ending their live set, playing this to 90,000 lighter-wavers in a field somewhere. Todays social and musical landscape is somewhat different. There’s less champagne spillage for one thing. However, in the absence of a functioning time machine to take us back to Knebworth, Spike Island or any time when Glastonbury was actually good, I’ll settle instead for being sent to Coventry. I actually want to go there! The Institutes already impressed the heck out of me. Now it’s the turn of SENSES. I swear there must be something in the East Midlands water.

Little Pictures Without Sound is loaded with honest, heartfelt choons. They may only be at the start of their journey but SENSES songs are unafraid to soar.

First Glances feature

Buy the album.