Good old fashioned pop music, if that was the aim of Prides highly anticipated debut LP they hit the nail on the head. The Way Back Up is an ambitious triumph and a credit to the band and their roots. Infectious pop hooks and synth ballads lead the album through its impressive collection of 11 tracks (16 if you buy the deluxe which is well worth the extra £2) securing their place amongst Glasgow’s finest.
The album kicks off with familiar tracks, the powerful, I Should Know You Better with synth that would leave OMD themselves in the dark begins a journey of non-stop tunes. Crowd favourite Messiah and recent single Higher Love (pensioners and bingo players alike can get behind this one) follow this trend with a blend of 80s pop and classic alternative rock lyricism. Singer Stewart Brock deals with heartbreak, distance and hope for the future on beautiful ballad-like track Let it Go, gracefully blending melodies together to bring the song an optimistic feel.
As Little Danger seeks to set off another round of pop bangers, it is easy to see the influence of pre-millennia on the Prides music. Anthemic chants of “I want to be” fill stadiums in your head during the chorus’ before being dwarfed in arpeggiators giving Kraftwerk a run for their money. Playing this album quietly is like going to a club and reading a book. Brock’s regret and lament for lost love spills out and over the edge in the form of the stunning track Same Mistakes, the marriage of the 20-something singer’s voice and backing vocals of bandmate Callum Wiseman with production by drummer Lewis Gardiner show Prides ability to deliver tender and intimate synthpop instead of churning out formulaic pop music that is prominent nowadays. Massive single Out of the Blue sits near the tail end of the album, a festival anthem in previous years, it is furiously addictive and infectious. The catchy hook of the chorus never gets old and sums up the charm of the band. Followed by title track The Way Back Up the album closes with what appears to be a triumph over worse times and the pride of coming out the other end living to tell the tale.
Prides are a band that can sit amongst the giants of Scottish Alt Rock, all the whilst being a pop band. They are a quintessential band of the Glasgow music scene and The Way Back Up is a testament to their name. With the record, Prides have set a new standard for modern pop music, showing it can in fact be thoughtful and complex. The LP is at heart a classic pop record, and they have achieved above and beyond what they set out to do, remoulding our opinions and leaving us yearning for more