Alert New London is not just the name of a street in Okeana, Ohio; it is the name of a close-knit quintet of friends who have been experimenting with ambient dream-pop in Columbus since 2008. Individually, the members of this ensemble are Cory Nicol, David Woodrow, Jim Fowler, Stephen Lee and Gavin Mckenzie, and their simple but effective approach to music is to always make things new. In accordance with this mantra, they have successfully transitioned from the simpler retro-pop stylings of their early days to what is now a more challenging and ambitious aural landscape.
Alert New London’s debut album Youth, released at the tail-end of 2011, is awash with wistful earnestness and energy that is tempered by a looming apprehension of what lies ahead. These seemingly conflicting emotions are punctuated by the assured timing of accomplished drummer Fowler and rock-steady bassist Lee ; the rest of the band members provide a counterbalance of ethereal, textured clouds of affected guitars and keyboards which take shape, dissipate, and reform throughout the course of the album.
Musical influences tend to be popular alternative rock bands who give a big nod to melody:The Smiths, Radiohead and Arcade Fire, for example, and ensembles like U2 or The Temper Trap that similarly boast a stalwart drummer and an unyielding vocalist. That a number of listeners have compared vocalist Nicol to Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon is perhaps not just a tribute to Cory’s command onstage but also an affirmation of the band’s accessibility; their songs are chock full of hooks.
The members of Alert New London are currently building a recording studio for themselves and writing new material for their next effort. They will continue to tour throughout the Midwest and look forward to performing jubilant live shows that encourage and facilitate an escape from the everyday grind.