Review: Area 40’s giant leap on debut album

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Review by Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers

Area 40: One Small Step (album)

Woah, that’s the way to open an album.

If you told me the haunting and stirring Where Are You Now was the new single by Mumford and Sons or The Waterboys, I’d say “great, sounds like a classic to me.”

Recorded at Flat Cap Recording Studio in Ripon and mixed at Calder Recordings in Hebden Bridge, local five-piece outfit Area 40 don’t threaten to hit those heights again until the album’s terrific, rabble-rousing final track, Boston.

But that’s not to denigrate what is basically a strong debut album.

Mixing folk elements with rock and slight traces of prog, Pete McLoughlin (lead guitar, vocals, keyboards), Steve Peacey (vocals, rhythm guitar, bass), Mark Wilson (vocals, rhythm guitar, bass), Wendy Ross (violin) and Chris Holden (drums) create a great, ensemble sound from start to finish.

My only reservation is the band sound less convincing on those quieter ‘I Am Kloot’ moments, though the likes of the breezy For You and piano-led ballad Day Job are both solid tunes.

For me, it’s when Wendy Ross’s soaring violin welds with Pete McLoughlin’s melodic lead guitar that Area 40 really come alive.

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