While genres of music were strictly defined at one point or another, the imaginary lines that contained the elements within those boundaries essentially no longer exist. Crossovers between styles has been the newest method of progression and evolution in the musical world for years now and there’s assuredly no slowing it down. This leads to unique and interesting sounds that in reality, never felt like they’d be created previously. Enter in one of the UK’s more eclectic rock outfits, the trio known as The Decoy. The band has a sound that is incredibly different and draws influences from all sorts of bands and styles. With their debut album, Avalon, they hope to raise their status further with irresistible stadium-sized anthems. However, with such a unique sound leaning on influences, does it truly stand out as a memorable work of art or an unruly mess?
Avalon opens up on an extremely interesting note with the track “Black Mountain Radio”, which starts with what sounds like a brief radio transmission. The track then delves into the realm of different with the various style switches and elements that it contains as its pace slow down and speeds up while the vocal delivery constantly changes. Ultimately it’s a different style of music compared to the lead single and next track, “Cold”, which comes off as an anthemic rock track and showcases The Decoy’s ability to create infectious hooks. “Elizabeth” is clearly about a girl named Elizabeth and continues the back and forth trend found on the album opener with sped up passages intermixed between sections of calm and serenading music. From this point forward, the majority of the album seems to find solid footing and continuity in sound and style and the influences of Biffy Clyro and Incubus become more noticeable.
“Crazy Nights” is an alternative rock driven with a soaring chorus and toe-tapping instrumentation while “Kids” starts out on a subtle note with a showcase of the bands ability before its titanic melodies kick in making it a worthy stadium filler and the ultimate highlight of the record. “Breathe” offers listeners a melodically driven sound and while it contains heavier guitar tones, it’s one of the slower and softer tracks to be found. The next track, “Habit” features a guest feature from Abigail Tough and showcases a beautiful repose between chaotic guitar sections. “A Meze” strips out the full band sound and gives listeners an acoustic sound that ultimately feels out of place, even on an album full of stylistic changes. Avalon’s last two tracks, “Lion” and “Live By The Axe” see the return of constant stop-starting in sound with the both being rather heavy in musicality and containing long sections of screaming vocals.
Clocking in at just under 35 minutes, Avalon feels longer than its runtime shows. This is attributed by The Decoy’s desire to have constant on again, off again musical elements littered throughout the entirety of the record which makes it not only a unique listen, but one that can come across as challenging. All music will take listeners on a journey, and the one presented on this record is a rather unique one that goes from one end of the spectrum to the other with multiple stops in between. The underlying problem with packing in so many influences into one record is that it creates an uncohesive sound and hurts the overall flow and listening experience. There’s no doubt that The Decoy is a talented and eclectic group of musicians, but Avalon ultimately fails to deliver anything more than a combination of sounds that’ll leave listeners scratching their heads.