One of the privileges in discovering new artists is witnessing their progression from early single releases to a later, more refined sound. Over the course of time, the raw material with which they start out matures into something that comes to represent their core identity. And it is this identity, once found, that allows them to stamp their unique contribution onto the world of music, with the confidence that they are being truly themselves. So it is with The Rising, whose journey over the last few years has been on a broad path, encompassing a breadth of genres, all of which have gone into making a sound that is truly theirs. There is no compromise on their latest EP ‘No Hope Without Love’. Instead, it features a wonderful blend of country, rock and pop elements, none of which seek supremacy but compliment each other beautifully.
The opening track ‘You Had It All’ contains a recognisably country-pop sound with a definite Lady A influence. The drums, evident throughout, create a catchy beat which, when joined by the guitars, especially in the chorus, makes for a really enjoyable listen. This continues into the second song on the EP, ‘Bruise You Left’, though the pop production is more evident. There is a flavour of Taylor Swift, from the ‘Red’ era, here, with Chantelle’s vocals proving adept at conveying both the heartbreak and acceptance that come from a failed relationship. It is a theme that seems to be ripe for exploration within UK Country right now, with Daisy Chute (‘Secondhand Heart’), Eleri Angharad (‘Blank Walls’) and Liv Austen (‘Don’t Regret a Single One’) all reflecting on how “the bruise you left will always hold up”, and how we might respond as a result.
The EP takes a rockier route with its third track, ‘Break the Chains’, a protest song about the events witnessed in the media in 2020. Given the racial injustice, climate crisis and populist politics that are no doubt included in this definition, it is perhaps no surprise that the lyrics call for a heaviness in the music to rouse the listener to action. It is certainly anthemic in tone, with the line “a sign from above/ there’s no hope without love” being particularly pertinent; challenging and inspiring at the same time. ‘Highway to the Lost & Found’ then turns the volume up further, with full on rock ‘n’ roll that encases reflections on life as an independent musician. It is very reminiscent of ‘Road I Call Home’ by Elles Bailey, the lively and dance-worthy music hiding a darker story of the physical and financial challenges of life on the road. The only thing that’s missing is a bit of piano, Jerry Lee Lewis style, the inclusion of which would ensure The Rising had a real hit on their hands.
The EP ends with a reimagined version of ‘You Had It All’. It is much more reflective than the original, with the piano accompanying the beautiful tones of Chantelle’s voice to deliver a solid ballad that again showcases the variety of The Rising’s sound. It seems that they can turn their hands to anything, though their choices are deliberate and play to their strengths. They certainly seem to know what those are now and are reaping the rewards. ‘No Hope Without Love’ feels like a statement of who they are. It marks a turning point in which The Rising go from potential stars to established act on the UK Country music scene. They are now most definitely ones to watch.
The EP is due for release soon. Meanwhile, click here to discover more music by The Rising.
Originally written for and published on Belles & Gals on 24th September 2021.
Featured Image (C) The Rising