'This is a band that can both kick like a mule sonically yet charm your socks off with beautifully entwined dual vocals and a real poetic approach to songwriting'-Del Day, Americana UK
'House Above The Sun's songwriting has a rich sense of depth. Folk-hewn artistry with a gilded feel, the band's upcoming album melds Americana to some strikingly personal lyricism' -Clash Magazine
House Above The Sun - New EP 'Time I Got Goin’' Release Date: 20.02 2020
Between the golden tones of the lap steel, shimmering hammond organ and wistful trumpet melodies over an acoustic guitar, House Above The Sun (HATS) have manufactured a colourful yet melancholic new body of work, deeply rooted in folk rock with highly personal lyricism. Having been described by Americana UK as ‘Son Volt meets Bottle Rockets’, the HATS sound is invariably a contemporary take on solid rootsy songwriting with blues and alt-country overtones.
Sonically, HATS have evolved from the stripped down, blues-fuelled rock sound of their eponymous debut EP (2015) and subsequent full album ‘Five Hours North’ (2017). While the electric guitar dominated their debut album, it is the luscious sound of twin acoustic guitars that form the basis for most of these new tracks. With the introduction of the lap steel and hammond organ, the band make a more brazen nod to their folk-rock and alt-country influences. Prominent across the whole EP, these instruments enrich the songs both with warm chordal layers and singular melodic hooks, like the soulful organ melody that closes out ‘Small Town’ or the simple and hypnotic lap steel running through ‘The Bitter life of Little Tony Starfish’. By the second half of the EP, their arrangements forsake any purist Americana aspirations, embracing their affinity for psychedelic and Alternative rock with the introduction of mellotron strings, leslie speaker vocals and trumpet courtesy of special guest Sarah Woolfenden.
Fronting HATS is singer/songwriter and guitarist Jim Moreton from Cheltenham, the quaint Cotswold town that he lovingly refers to as the ‘home of British Rock n’ Roll’ on account of early musical inspiration Brian Jones. Jim was raised by a single mother who eagerly encouraged his early musical pursuits as a budding blues based guitarist and indulged his obsession with 60s and 70s rock n roll with family trips to musical landmarks like the Cavern Club and Elvis Presley’s home in Graceland. The sudden death of his mother while a teenager was what led Jim into writing songs of his own with his lyricism taking on a therapeutic role, exploring the themes of devastating loss and coming of age through nostalgic story telling. With age, Jim’s music has gravitated further and further towards folk rock, blues and alt-country under the influence of classic figures like Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt, not to mention the more contemporary inspirations of Wilco, Kurt Vile, Lucinda Williams and Bright Eyes. Yet the simple wistful melodies of songs like ‘Time I Got Goin’ and the quirky ‘Bitter Life of Little Tony Starfish’ reveal an unmistakable Britishness that owes heavily to songwriting influences like John Lennon, The Smiths, Christine McVie and Ray Davies.
Providing harmony vocals and percussion is Ariel Moreton whose formative musical experiences included singing in church choirs and a capella ensembles. She was also heavily influenced musically by her teen years in Costa Rica, where she studied guitar and opera, and had plenty of exposure to Latin American percussion. Drums on the EP are deftly handled by Davide Mongirulli from Naples. Originally he grew up studying piano until ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ converted him to the dark arts of the guitar. It wasn’t until he moved to London as an adult that he decided to follow his earliest passion and teach himself drums.
Jack Neale, who has recently joined team HATS, replaces Sam Thiery who played bass on the EP. Influenced by the full spectrum of styles, from Simon and Garfunkel and James Jamerson to Jimi Hendrix and Rage Against The Machine, Jack brings a solid yet decorative approach to the bass that perfectly bridges the gap between rhythm and melody. Completing the lineup is David Atkinson whose die-hard delta blues inspired lap steel and slide guitar makes the HATS sound more firmly steeped in blues and Americana roots. Influenced by the likes of Lowell George, Charley Patton and Buddy Emmons, Atkinson’s penchant for open tunings and pedalboard experimentation combines an authentic early blues sound with a contemporary atmospheric shimmer.
HATS will be promoting the new EP with several live shows in early 2020, including a slot at The Bread and Roses in Clapham on 31st January and more to be announced.