Single review – New Age Grace, Not Like Them

Reviewed by Phil Taylor (see his Music Observer blog here)

Release date: 21/08/23

New Age Grace are a local four-piece band who originally formed in 2017. After releasing their first EP in 2020, the band were forced into a two-year hiatus due to a certain pandemic (even now, I find it hard to speak its name).

They returned with a new lineup and focused on re-establishing themselves on the Leicester live music scene, building a fanbase, and recording a new single. That single is Not Like Them, a quick-paced, forward-leaning, immediate song.

The single was released as summer faded and thoughts of autumn approached, and there’s something of a hint of that change of seasons in the musical colour of the song. A certain underlying warmth, but edged with a chill at times.

It’s also a song with a slightly non-traditional structure – there’s not an obvious verse-chorus-verse. It begins carefully, with warm guitars sounding through an echoey room. Those guitars begin to peal and wail, providing the perfect introduction for Amy Louise’s first words. There’s the sense of a friend turning to you and beginning to share her feelings: “I’ve been this way for so long, I’ve felt like this since my very first breath”.

From there, there’s a gradual opening up of sound, the music supporting the lyrical expression of honest frustration and positive self-realisation. Amy Louise seems hardly to pause for breath, pouring out her heart with ever-increasing urgency.

New Age Grace at The Soundhouse, Leicester 11/11/23. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

We all know that there are lots of bands out there, doing their thing, and many times doing it pretty well. So why should New Age Grace stand out? Well, to me, they do, and it’s precisely because of that subtly unconventional approach to the way they write, and perform. There are moments in Not Like Them when the band could have played it safer and chosen a more typical route. I’m glad they didn’t: that would only have created a much less impactful song as a result.

That structure I mentioned earlier lends the song a feel of energy which doesn’t let up, until the very final few moments. I also really enjoy the half-time sections, with constantly crashing cymbals underlying more jagged guitars, while Amy Louise’s voice becomes ever more strident, on the edge of cracking at times, in a really pleasing way. In the last few seconds, we are left with one final repetition of the cathartic refrain “I’ll wait for you”, the vocals stretching out and finally fading away. The message delivered, some rest is deserved.

New Age Grace at The Soundhouse, Leicester 11/11/23. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

The band promises more new music in the coming months, so be sure to follow them so you don’t miss out. In the meantime, you can listen to/stream/buy Not Like Them here.

New Age Grace are: Amy Louise (vocals), Kenny Cassells (guitar, vocals), Tomas Csabi (bass) and Chris Swirles (percussion).

You can find out more about them in the usual places:


Watch New Age Grace perform Not Like Them with Siobhan Mazzei on guitar at The Soundhouse, Leicester on the 11 November, 2023


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