Released on October 15, Still Here is the debut EP by Montana, released on Glaswegian punk/hardcore/emo independent record label Struggletown Records.
I really really really fucking liked this album. A whole lot. I couldn’t find any information about the band, even on Struggletown’s website, so please excuse my lack of credit where it’s due; Montana’s members are fantastic at what they do. The singer has a Kele Okereke edge to his voice that brought back all my teenage years of listening to Bloc Party in my room. The guitarist uses his effects very efficiently, and never shows off, always playing for the song. The drummer’s breaks brought me to my feet in excitement, and I mean literally, they made me stand up and dance around this motel room with a beer clutched in my fist.
When I sat back down for a second listen, I found myself enraptured by the lyrics. Sincere and unassuming, they fit this album perfectly My favourite track is #5 “Move On,” which has beautiful tempo changes, precisely played by the aforementioned instrumentalists, but more significantly, features the same lyrics, sung over and over again in different octaves, with growing passion each time: “I lost two of my dearest friends/ But only to their own love, their own happiness/ It teaches me to let things go, to let things be…”
The blood-red passion behind this singer’s voice is goosebump-raising and utterly galvanizing. The final track “Crystal Clear” is a good indication of that point, and shows the singer’s surprisingly clear falsetto, before he literally spits out “Rest my head back on my shoulders/ Get shit crystal clear/ Bit by bit piece things together/ ‘Cause I was fucked but I’m still here.”
I really don’t know what to say about this album. I have pages and pages of notes and most of them just talk about how much I love these songs. I think the reason behind that lies in the atmosphere of the record. A large part of the album’s appeal for me personally is the nostalgia it produces; it has the sort of youthful euphoria I haven’t experienced in a lot of modern music. It has a perfectly raw quality, and the singer definitely doesn’t try to sound pretty, which makes it all more honest, ultimately. Still Here has ache and urge and balls and fury.
So basically, and this is a much more succinct review than I initially planned, I loved this album and I think you will too. Go to Montana’s album page on the Struggletown's Bandcamp page here.
1. Stay Cool
5. Move On
6. Crystal Clear