The Black Swan Effect, 2010
"Just when you think you've heard it all before, along comes an album that demands the hairs on the back of you neck stand to attention, proving once again that we underestimate the emotive impact of a guitar band with a twist of 21st century angst at our peril." Classic Rock
Following the success of The Black Swan Effect's debut single 'In The City', and follow up 'Winter Sun' comes their highly anticipated debut album 'Admission'.
From the driving drums on opener 'Falling Down' to the campfire sing-along on the final track 'Please', there's a sonic nod to Muse, perhaps an echo of Radiohead's Street Spirit, with Gareth Hale's yearning, passionate vocals suggestive of Jeff Buckley, a fresh urgency reminiscent of The Jam..... But comparisons aside, the dynamic sound of The Black Swan Effect is all their own. 'Admission' carries classic, spine-tingling rock tunes, crowd-pleasing singalongs (as anyone who has seen the band live will agree!), intimate ballads, catchy pop melodies - showcasing their powerful song writing, passionate playing and attitude.
At the heart of The Black Swan Effect is the songwriting duo, Dominic and Gareth. Friends for fifteen years, while Dom found success travelling the world with his band having numerous Top 40 singles and a double platinum UK number 1 album alongside playing on the main stages at Glastonbury, Reading and V, in stark contrast Gareth put the dream to one side and stepped away from music. After a chance meeting earlier last year the two vowed to work together again. The opportunity arose with the soundtrack to a film documentary, Rock Star. Subsequent sessions went well and an early demo found it's way into Peter Gabriel's hands, who immediately signed them up to Real World Records. All this before the band had played a note live!
John Hogg joined to play guitar, and Jesse Wood to play bass; Martin Wright co-produced with Dominic, and Sean Genockey (Manic Street Preachers, Suede, Tom McRea) engineered and mixed the project. 11 tracks formed the album. Next thing they were on tour in South America with Peter Gabriel (with old friend Kenwyn House replacing John Hogg on guitar for live work). Until that time, Gareth had never performed in front of a live audience, so naturally his first shows with the band were playing a rousing stadium tour of South America to crowds of tens of thousands!
Admission is an impressive debut album where even the quietest of compositions is big enough to fill a cinema, or a stadium, and the sound can only be described as, The Black Swan Effect.
- ...spirited vocals and rousing guitars. ...a passionately layered collection of guitar-driven rock songs. Those who yearn for the anthemic dynamic of 'Pablo Honey' era and Radiohead, will embrace these 11 songs like long lost children. BT82 (UK)
- Packed full of goosebumps moments... The Black Swan Effect have exploded out of the Southwest with this latest offering of tasty Alternative Rock and British Fuzz guitars. Admission is full of rhythmic riffs, soaring yet punchy vocal lines and experimental interludes...there's an undeniably less pretentious vibe coming off this whole album, which sets it apart from the rest of the crowd. Pretty Things is an obvious standout track complete with fully scored string and horn parts and an epic time signature adding together to make a miniature journey for the listener and a tragic reminiscence for our protagonist. 'Come Home' gets the same sort of reverence with its ability to bring the chorus up to skyscraper heights in terms of pure emotion gushing out of (Hale's) vocal chords combined with classic rock elements like the simply beautiful organ sound that just makes it through the mix. That seems to be the story with Admission though - larger-than-life journeys in three and a half minutes that can cover as much ground as is needed with as little procrastination as possible. Packed full of goosebumps moments and air guitar choruses, this album is all killer no filler in an age where the phrase seems as rare and elusive as black swan. Beared Magazine (UK)
- Admission - The Black Swan Effect Dominic Greensmith joins vocalist/guitarist Gareth Hale at the songwriting helm to steer this album through moments of magnitude (flat flams on rumbling toms of 'Come Home') as tastefully as atmospheric subtlety ('Sick'). 'Pretty Things' is standout with a rock triplet feel and an unpredictable emphasis on the 'trip' providing tension to be released as the chorus rolls in, Greensmith switching to mallets for a tender yet haunting coda. Rock-solid punk-flavoured beats elsewhere aren't the groove exuberance of Greensmith's Reef but the Black Swan Effect is a different animal altogether. Drummer Magazine (UK)
- Admission is a stirring debut... Admission is a stirring debut that harks back to Pablo Honey-era, Radiohead, without aping them. Artful and compelling. Guitar & Bass (UK)
- ...fuses the remorseless grind of Oasis with the melodic spark of Radiohead circa Pablo Honey. Classic Rock (UK)
- A promising debut... Gareth Hale's soulful vocals provide a powerful hub and the band's instrumental proficiency augment this well....a promising debut... Clash (UK)
- ...an album with plenty of heart and energy. AU Magazine (UK)
- A Grand Entrance Just when you think you've heard it all before, along comes an album that demands the hairs on the back of your neck to stand to attention, proving once again that we underestimate the emotive impact of a guitar band with a twist of 21st century angst at our peril. Formed when ex-Reef drummer Dominic Greensmith teamed up with guitarist and vocalist, Gareth Hale to collaborate on a film soundtrack, the resulting music burgeoned into some strikingly stadium-friendly tracks. Clearly Peter Gabriel thought so too, signing the group to Real World immediately after hearing demos. From such an auspicious start it was only a hop, skip, and jump to the departure lounge where Greensmith and Hale, along with (ex-Reef) buddy Kenwyn House on guitar and Jesse Wood joined Gabriel, playing support on one of the great man's world tours. Jangling guitars abound and there's no doubt that this is a band capable of providing many a festival field in the coming year with memorable crowd pleasing moments. Sonic hat-tips to Muse can be found here and there, while the addictive power-pop anthem, Rat In A Cage, tailgates the forlorn introspection of Radiohead's Street Spirit into the kind of raucous, reproachful bash that The Clash might have once spat out. Of course the real test of the band doesn't just lie in how good they are at grand gestures-almost anyone can look good fist-punching the air with their Telecaster cranked up to 11. Its also about how well they handle themselves under scrutiny that comes when performing a ballad. Happily, The Black Swan Effect acquit themselves well in this department. The best of these intimate renditions can be found on Sick, a startlingly precise meditation on loss and longing, in which Hale's voice occasionally echoes the chocked up vulnerability of Jeff Buckley. Pretty things is perhaps the key to the album, with myriad tiny production details to admire. A swirling chill factor abounds as the guitars give way to a dreamily elegiac French horn and eerie chorale, while a reverb frost glitters with a subtle mixture of magic and menace. Its precisely this kind of tweaking which elevates the music on Admission from being mearly good to something approaching awesome, suggesting they posses an ambitious attitude that matches their obvious talent. Classic Rock Prog (UK)
- ...stunningly consistent and truly dynamic vocal performances... South west rockers The Black Swan Effect boast members of the globally-successful 90's rock band Reef amongst their ranks. And although the experience they bring to the table is valuable to both the performances and songwriting elements of the music, the real star of the shoe here is hiterto unknown singer (and co-songwriter), Gareth Hale. His stunningly consistent and truly dynamic vocal performances are reminiscent of everyone from Mark Lanegan to Jeff Buckley - the perfect accompaniment to the bands musical blending of the driving rock of early Radiohead and the sultry indie tones of Bell X1 and Tom McRae. Rock Sound (UK)