Echoing with the rattle and thump of bands like Pavement, Luna, and LCD Soundsystem, the work of Birmingham-based rock outfit People Years bristles with a wild confidence and posses the ability to easily dissolve the borders between the band’s collective influences. Built around the combined creativities of singer-guitarist Chris Rowell (Warm In the Wake, Sea Fix, King Lear Jet), keyboardist Tony Oliver (Sea Fix), bassist Greg Slamen (Cosmonaut on Vacation, Heath Green & The Makeshifters, Through The Sparks) and drummer Wes McDonald (Terry Ohms, Vulture Whale, The Ohms), People Years is something of a Southern supergroup, bringing together musicians who share a specific affection for dismantling familiar sounds.
Borrowing bit and pieces from various inspirations across different decades, their focus is on reshaping rock music’s already-impressive expanse. There are moments when the grimy rock classicism of the ‘70s peeks through the haze before suddenly shifting to expose a jangling pop-rock heart that feels comfortable beating along the whir and rumble of Modern English and Echo & the Bunnymen. But even as they channel and adapt these particular musical movements, there’s never a time when they fall back on rote imitation – their love and dedication to their craft, and to the inner workings of their rhythmic forebearers, allows them substantial opportunity to imprint their own unique melodic impulses directly into the bones and muscles of their music. The band is set to release their debut record, Animalism, on April 10 via Cornelius Chapel Records.
On their latest single, “False Start,” they descend into a dense and slightly prog-y atmosphere, one where the guitars churn ever so slightly and the drums sustain an earthen grumble. Rowell’s voice floats effortlessly through this murk as the band fashions an unconventional catharsis of subtle melodies and persuasive tonalities. There are times when Oliver lets the keys provide a bit of necessary strut and synthetic reverberation, though Slamen’s bass is never far behind, providing a framework upon which the track is laid. It’s a song that burrows and insinuates itself deeper and deeper into your subconscious, coming up only briefly for the occasional breath and a need to inspire spontaneous movement in various external limbs.