Belfast but London based band ABQ (aka Albuquerque) clearly have gutsy ambition to join and succeed those behemoths in rock of the likes of Imagine Dragons, Snow Patrol and Biffy Clyro. With their debut single, Takes So Long ABQ have released a strong statement of intent for the future.
Takes So Long is a highly polished and accomplished slice of edgy anthemic rock which reminds me of the soaring optimism of Imagine Dragons and Snow Patrol, but most importantly is a distinct tune in its own right. Lead vocalist Paul Shevlin has a class, slightly gritty and expressive rock voice.
Shevlin originally cut his teeth as a teen solo artist back in Belfast in the early years of the decade and won a “Next BRIT thing” award and plenty of friends and local acclaim along the way. He had originally met his fellow band members (Adam Devenney, James Pollock and Kit Grier) in the local scene and eventually it made sense for them to join up.
I always feel particularly for the weight on the shoulders of a successful solo artist and the pressures to keep the wages for the crew behind going, so perhaps this explains why there has been a refocus for Shevlin to be part of a band. Indeed the lyrics of Takes So Long was written during a low point about the harsh struggles and frustrations in music, although its focus is on pulling it all together and moving forward rather than having a solid wallow in misery about how unfair it all is. After all these guys have chosen a cut throat hard industry to play around in.
I always bang on about live music being best when you can (if you so chose) count the individual arm hairs of the performers rather than watching them on a big screen in a massed group of people, and at the moment here’s a chance to catch this stadium band of the future in a fairly intimate setting.
For anyone who happens to be in London ABQ are playing the Camden Assembly on 26 September and promise more UK gigs in due course.