After the promise they showed with last year’s debut EP, Welsh upstarts The Decoy wasted no time with their successful follow-up. The band’s unique sound is still intact, if a bit stronger this time around. That makes sense, given they have more time in both the literal sense and within the album to play around. The sonic template for Avalon is still the British stadium rock meets tech-y, proggy punk, sort of like if Lower Than Atlantis or Biffy Clyro listened to a lot of Every Time I Die and Protest The Hero before going into the studio. Maybe most impressive is how coherent this musical mixture is. Despite the occasional hardcore or tech-y sections, The Decoy’s clear mission is to create the biggest songs possible, and their use of unexpected avenues to reach that goal is what makes them impressive.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that the lads in The Decoy are both accomplished musicians and impressive songwriters. Look at “Breathe” for example, with its sludgy riffs and soaring central melody. It’s indicative of what you can expect throughout Avalon, but one of the album’s strengths is its dexterity. Whether it’s the acoustic magesty of “A Meze”, the progressive punk energy of “Black Mountain Radio”, the bouncy and hooky warmth of “Cold”, or the math rock of “Elizabeth”. The Decoy’s ability to do whatever the Hell they want, while also carving out a coherent sound that’s undoubtedly theirs, is masterful. Some of the hooks aren’t quite as sharp as those from Parasites, but the songs are definitely a step up in every other way. The band are more confident in experimenting with their sound than relying on just tech-y riffs and harmonized hooks. There’s much more to their arsenal than that.
It’s nice to hear a band with as much promise as The Decoy had with last year’s EP fulfill their potential. I get the sense that Avalon isn’t their full butterfly transition yet, as I think with these sonic mad scientists won’t be content to stick to their status quo. British alternative rock has seen a good bit of a resurgence lately, and The Decoy are definitely at the head of that pack.