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This watch keeps ticking
Nevermind the silly name, Portadown’s ...And So I Watch You From Afar are an act worth keeping tabs on.
Colin Carberry, 05 Jul 2007
As mission statements go, the title of the first EP from …And So I Watch You From Afar leaves little room for doubting the band’s intentions. This Is Our Machine And Nothing Can Stop It, the thing is called, and the pounding, unforgiving nature of the four tracks included show that this crowd mean to walk it like they talk it.
Rest assured: what the instrumental Portadown four-piece lack in vocals, they more than make up for, both in atmospherics, and in their knack for picking nifty song-titles. Take, ‘I Capture Castles’ and ‘The Voiceless’; take, in fact, the ambiguous and arresting name of the band itself – these are people determined to prove that you don’t need lyrics to be lyrical.
“I think that because we don’t have to write a whole page of lyrics, we can just pick the best line that anyone of us thinks of,” says guitarist Rory Friers. “We take great pride in our titles. We’ve come up with them before we’ve even written the song a lot of times. And that leads you in certain directions. Like as soon as you call a song ‘This Is Our Machine And Nothing Can Stop It’, you kind of have to live up to it, you know? You’ve to step up.”
A similar process occurred with another track on the EP – Holylands 4AM. For those unfamiliar with the University Area of South Belfast, it’s a title that would perhaps carry different connotations to anyone who lives in the place. The dark, verging-on-demented tremor of the song provides an accurate and truthful depiction of the pervading atmosphere of that part of town.
“I’d like to think so,” says Rory. “I love the way people who don’t know the Holy Lands think that it sounds like a lovely, dreamy kind of area, but as anyone from Belfast knows, it can be a total nightmare. That was one of those songs where the title came first. A friend of ours was talking about a crazy situation he’d found himself in, and the only point of comparison he had was that it was like the Holy Lands at 4am. We all knew right away what he meant, and a wee light went off in my head. So, the song does try to evoke a certain place at a certain time.”