Album Review: Avalon // The Decoy

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The Decoy are a alternative rock band from Pontypool in Wales. Their reputation is steadily growing, especially after praise from Kerrang! magazine and a slot at Y Not Festival. The band is influenced by Rueben, incubus, and Every Time I Die, and put out a well-received EP, Parasites, in May 2015. This year they release their anticipated debut album, Avalon on July 29th. Whilst Parasites was an indication of their sound – alternative rock with catchy pop hooks – the bands’ sound is redefined, and contains more technical elements in Avalon.

The album begins with radio static on the appropriately titled ‘Black Mountain Radio’, which adds to the effect. The production is bigger, and the song meanders in all kinds of different directions. ‘Elizabeth’ however is a weaker effort because the harmonies don’t work well together and it contains a lacklustre guitar solo. ‘Crazy Nights’ is more upbeat with heavy drums and a driving rock rhythm, which carry the track forward, while ‘Kids’ features a creative bassline strengthening their songwriting palette. The track itself is a five-and a half-minute epic with some ambient elements; the clean guitar tones are reminiscent of Deftones.

The Deftones influence is also present in ‘Breathe’, with a progressive heavy guitar riff. The harmonies work perfectly as they mesh well with the big riffs, as it shows they’re not afraid to try new things. ‘Habit’ seems to be about the protagonist creeping on a girl after their relationship ended. He wants to be around this girl: “I want to go to all the places you hang around”. The production is big, with the inclusion of a female singer showing off their melodic side.

The latter half of the album sees a contrast in styles and is another example of their ability to broaden their influences. ‘Lion’ is a bruising tech-metal influenced track, with plenty of energy and melody in the vocals. The guitars are like an adrenaline rush and compliment the track perfectly, while on the other hand ‘A Maze’ is about the frustrations of living in Pontypool “I want to get out of here tonight / I don’t feel so sociable.” You can feel the emotion in this track, and the acoustic backdrop makes for a calming listen.

‘Live By the Axe’ closes the album. Personally, this is a highlight because it shows The Decoy can write brilliantly catchy riffs and hooks. The riff is so addictive and is reminiscent of Don Broco, while the stoner-inspired riff in the middle eight is perfect for a moshpit.

Although Avalon isn’t perfect, it shows The Decoy have enhanced their songwriting while still staying true to their original sound. With the band getting more exposure, we could be hearing about them a lot more in the future.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

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