The Liberty Ship - Northern Angel EP

matinée 046  /  March 2003
The Liberty Ship - Northern Angel EP
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The Liberty Ship - Northern Angel EP

matinée 046  /  March 2003

Second single from Nottingham, England four-piece led by former Bulldozer Crash frontman Marc Elston. The band released its debut 45 on Matinée last summer to applause and positive reviews that drew comparisons to heavy hitters like the Weather Prophets, East Village, Hurrah! and the Byrds. The title track from this new EP has perfectly shimmering guitars, harmonica, tambourine, great harmonies and one of the catchiest choruses we've heard in a long while. It will have you shaking your hip like a beatnik in four minutes flat. The EP also includes "This World" and "Small Lives" (both with Marc on lead vox) and "Final Kick" featuring more tambourine and lovely female lead vocals from 'shipmate Rachel Eyres. Four enticing, melodic new songs from an exciting young band.

  1. Northern Angel
  2. This World
  3. Final Kick
  4. Small Lives


The Liberty Ship's lead vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist, Marc Elston, was half of the superb late-'80s/early-'90s indie pop noise duo Bulldozer Crash. Here he rounds up a full band and takes another shot at indie pop glory. Northern Angel, the group's four-song debut CD, is brimming with charming melodies, simple yet just right instrumentation, and songs that are good. The vocals are delightfully down to earth and emotional without being messy about it. All four songs have a chiming, Byrds-influenced, classic indie pop sound. "Northern Angel" has lovely minor chords, a soaring chorus, and is reminiscent of late-'80s bands like the great East Village. "Small Lives" is a down-tempo ballad with a well-programmed, non-cheesy drum machine and a beautiful melody. This EP is a promising start for the Liberty Ship. Indie pop fans should certainly keep a watch out for them.   --All Music Guide
Guitars shimmer. Tambourine shakes. Harmonies harmonize. Business as usual from Nottingham, then.   --Careless Talk Costs Lives
"northern angel" is obviously not about london's deepest tube line or the islington station with unfeasibly broad platforms that stands upon it, but a hymn of sorts to antony gormley's imposing motorway-side sculpture "the angel of the north", which stands on a former colliery site acting as a gateway to gateshead, england. while it's true that the liberty ship are influenced by rubbish bands like the byrds, and the beatles (yet only ourselves and the magnificent tasty zine, much to singer marc elston's chagrin, appear to have the guts to point out that most bands on matinée would walk all over the beatles) "northern angel" is simply a great A side, full of shambling drums, harmonica and, in its chorus, warm go-betweens guitars: wide-eyed in admiration for its subject, packed with hooks that make it the natural successor to last year's freewheeling "don't react", and ending with a delicious coda, introduced by the subtlest touch of feedback. it is without doubt the standout track on the cd-ep, but if that wasn't enough, "final kick" sees rachel eyres' lead a smiths-like, beautifully sung jangler that glows like the softer tunes off comet gain's "casino classics" before rounding off with a very bulldozer crash-style guitar line towards the end. and the closing "small lives" is unbearably sad, its lyrics and longing respectively reminding us of b.c. (again) and hood, but as the rain tracks the tear stains there is, one trusts, some hope somewhere.   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
Put down those knitting needles scenester, and listen up! The Liberty Ship are three boys and a girl from Nottingham who make jangly indie pop with harmonicas, and produce a sound akin to the warmth of a freshly baked cup cake. The title track, 'Northern Angel', seems to be a happy little ditty about that giantess of a sculpture; and by crikey will it burrow into your long-term memory like an inquisitive ferret. SARS my arse, this is a right catchy little scamp of a song! Their lead singer, Mr Elston, sounds a little like a rough-around-the-edges Dickon Edwards as he wails, “Northern angel’s on my mind mind mind” – and now mine too! And soon, yours! Liberty Ship? There’s an indie pop tugboat tyranny in my head! But of the nicest possible kind. 'This World' sounds rather more downcast as they mourn, “Not everyone can be of this world”, blimey, I don’t know if I want to think about this for too long or else my universe will start to crumble. My serotonin levels pick up again with 'Final Kick'. Ah. That’s more like it – clear girly vocals and classic jangling guitars. Lovely. And finally, 'Small Lives' sounds as if the Liberty Ship recorded this lying on a bed – idly singing to us whilst thumbing through the Sunday supplements, prodding a synth and strumming the odd guitar. It will make you sit in your armchair and reflect over a cup of tea and a custard cream, as all the Bright Young Things are doing these days. And if you require further proof that this is good – I missed Big Brother all in the name of the Liberty Ship. Oh yes. Now that is love.   --Pennyblack Magazine
Also on Matinée is the ‘Northern Angel’ single by The Liberty Ship. It would appear that the title track is about Antony Gormley’s monumental Angle of the North sculpture, which is something of a shame because personally I’m not a fan, either of Gormley’s work in general, or the Angel in particular. I think it’s ugly and uninspiring. It’s just as well then that the Liberty Ship’s personal paean to the sculpture is anything but, being instead all Dylan harmonicas and Windmilling minor chord guitar chimes. This song soars and sweeps whilst Gormley’s steel just sits there rusting.   --Tangents
We slacked in telling you about their previous single, and we aren't going to make that mistake again! The 60s folk-pop that was so heavy on the single isn't to be found on these four new tracks, but what you will find on Northern Angel are four songs drenched in gorgeous, low-key 80s guitar pop. "Northern Angel" is a fast little number, and while I didn't really warm up to the next number "This World," the gorgeously-sung by Rachel number "Final Kick" and the slowed-down, drum-machine driven "Small Lives" certainly make up for it! Though it's a little bit different than their previous record, it's still a great little record. They've certainly dropped enough of a hint that they are on the verge of utter greatness!   --Mundane Sounds
Far too many wussy, skinny-wristed bands fall into the category of groups with a “layered sound”. This detached formula hides the fact that most of these bands usually aren’t capable of playing their instruments well or with any heart. Fortunately the Liberty Ship doesn’t fall into that tired place. Their shimmering sound effectively overlaps multiple guitars with great vocal harmonies. The group also knows its way around a great chorus. This four song EP leaves you wanting more.   --Shredding Paper
I wasn’t convinced by this at first but the catchy chorus got to me. Wasn’t it Mogwai who said if you can write a good chorus, you’re halfway there? The cover depicts the legendary ‘Angel of the North’ - a monument I’ve yet to witness in the, er, flesh. (We have a rather pathetic erection down our way called the wickerman - it has a rather spooky inbred quality). I think the song is a rather straightforward tribute to the angel herself, but there’s no law that says you can’t read it as a metaphor for some lovely lass from County Durham who had a knack for stopping traffic. Or even something more abstract. A strong EP all round - especially if you like heartfelt guitar pop from the Postcard school.   --Wide Open Road