In art, comparisons can be a hideous thing. When Andrew Bate first came to the forefront of the Cornish music scene, all the local papers picked up on him as this theatrical piano driven Jeff Buckley-like artist. This sort of comparison, while flattering I’m sure (I’d be flattered at least), does take away from the talent of many artists and this comparison seemed to overshadow Andrew Bate at times and more and more he seemed to become detached from the local scene (either that, or I did) concentrating on other artistic pursuits other than just music.
Latest EP, Fainting In Coils, see’s Bate back with a backing band pushing him to audible heights that we’ve never heard from him before. Opening track ‘Deliverance’ is a slow brooding and haunting track pinned sparingly by an anthemic and tribal set of drumming while an electronic bass-line not dissimilar to one you may have heard on Gorillaz fantastic Demon Days adds an almost hip-hop feel before Bates (as we expect) Buckley-esque vocals come into the fore, more aggressive than before with almost pre-apocalyptic lyrics. ‘Lay Me Down’, possibly a personal favourite of mine from the EP, has almost a Daniel Johns from Silverchair vocal vibe from it, while musically Bate flirts with that rock but radio friendly sound, happy to do the Nirvana made popular quiet verse before erupting into a distortion and groove heavy chorus, it’s songs like this that truly get your feet tapping. After this it becomes more morose and down-beat, leading to the final track ‘Ghosts’, a beautiful classical piano led song (with the noises of children in the background) that cascades in and around your ears creating this daunting atmospheric yet at the same time utterly gorgeous instrumental of a track.
While I can understand the Buckley comparisons, especially in the rockier tracks with Bate emphasis clearly on writing songs that have this soulful funk ability of getting into the groove, Bate clearly has a slight split personality on show here able to fall into the more theatrical solemn side of music, and while it is on his rockier my Buckley-esque numbers that I prefer his sound, it is the ability to combine so many different eclectic influences that sets Bate apart from the legends that he is compared to.