Epic45 are for me one of the most underrated bands in England. Schoolfriends Ben Holton and Rob Glover have been making music together since their mid-teens, drawing inspiration from the rural countryside around the small Midlands village of Wheaton Aston that is their home. Like contemporaries Hood and Piano Magic, Epic45‘s music evokes a particular Englishness: a nostalgic view of hazy late-summer afternoons, of woodland walks, of lush greenery and Autumn leaves, of childhoods whiled away in a more innocent time… but sometimes undercut with an insidious dread, that England is fucked, fallen over, and that modernity/urbanisation has destroyed a better way of life. I find Epic45 the perfect soundtrack to long train journeys through England, the music providing evocative accompanient to both the railside dereliction & industrial architecture of the urban and to the unfeasibly green & gentle countryside.

Epic45 - May You Heart Be The Map

Epic45 (along with Hood) are the current evolution of a lineage that takes in Talk Talk, Bark Psychosis, Disco Inferno, but they also mix in the shoegaze wall of sound of early Slowdive and the fuzzfolk of Flying Saucer Attack. In a live setting the guitars really come to the fore, but for new album “May Your Heart Be The Map” they’re at their most restrained, with increased use of acoustic guitars in amongst the atmospheric ambience and poignant pastoral postrocktronica.

The album is apparently inspired by 70s UK TV series “Survivors”, a post-apocalyptical tale in which a mysterious plague wipes out most of the Earth’s population, leaving a handful of survivors to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins of their ‘civilization’. Although there are snatches of eerie, desolate sound throughout “May Your Heart Be The Map”, its tone is far more upbeat than such a muse would suggest, wistful rather than bleak, but still evoking a world that is by no means as pleasant a place to live as it once was.

Although there are no standout tracks that grip me like “England Fallen Over” (from the “England Fallen Over” EP) or “I’m Getting Too Young For This” (from “Against The Pull Of Autumn”), this is Epic45’s most consistent effort to date, serving as a poignant moodpiece to rival Bark Psychosis’s “Hex” – but more twilight country lanes than the late-night East End. Hopefully this album will finally garner Epic45 some of the wider attention they so richly deserve.

Epic45’s recordings are available via Make Mine Music, a label run with a collectivist ethos where the bands (Epic45, Portal, Yellow6, July Skies and others) all help each other out but pay for (and take all profits from) their own releases. So support Epic45 directly by purchasing their recordings here.

Could Have Been A Contender

Torche : “Torche” (Rock Action, 2007)
Originally released in 2005, this has been remixed & remastered (the band were unhappy with the original release) and released on Mogwai‘s Rock Action label. Torche mix the chugging riffs of Black Sabbath and Helmet with anthemic vocals to create a heavy sound dripping in scooped-EQ-sludge yet still able to break free of its earthbound shackles.