Band: Least of These
Title: More Than Conquerors
Released: August 2011
Producer: Zack Kuykendall
Sounds like: As Cities Burn (Come Now Sleep), Thrice (Beggars)
More Than Conquerors, the debut EP from four-piece, indie/alternative band Least of These,gets off to a slow start. Minute long intro tracks are increasingly common these days, but none the less frustrating every time I hear one. ‘Grace’ is the first song proper and though it shows signs of promise it stays at one meandering level and becomes too repetitive to be elevated further. It’s not the best of starts, but thankfully it’s not the whole story either.
After this laboured start, More Than Conquerors goes from strength to strength. Though ‘Grace’ lacked impact, the quality of the vocals, matched perfectly by the tone of the guitars, was enough of an incentive to promote further listening. Shades of As Cities Burn are prevalent throughout this EP, most notably in the vocal department where, Similar to Cody Bonnette of As Cities Burn, the lead vocalist manages to emit an incredible amount of passion and emotion in his voice. As the EP goes on, this becomes more effective and infectious and becomes the key differentiator that makes Least of These a powerful and exciting band.
Musically, As Cities Burn’s ‘Come Now Sleep’ and Thrice’s ‘Beggars’ serve as useful comparisons. The music is a perfect accompaniment to the strained emotion of the vocals, balancing discordant passages and uplifting chord sequences with a hard-hitting rhythm section. Whilst the performance angle of the EP doesn’t break any boundaries, it succeeds in complimenting rather than intruding on the impact of the songs. Structurally the band must take a great deal of credit, as the song structures feel dynamic and unrestrained making the five tracks (ignoring the intro and middle-segue) feel fresh and unique.
After the first five minutes, I didn’t imagine that this EP by Least of These would become one of my favourite releases of the year, but I can’t speak highly enough of the impact that the hauntingly beautiful vocals and excellently composed, uplifting indie/alternative songs has had. I’m usually put-off by bands with worship-heavy lyrical content, but in the case of More Than Conquerors it doesn’t detract from the quality of the songs. You can certainly tell what the songs are about, but if this band’s faith gives them the emotion they need to sing and play with this much passion, it can’t be a bad thing. I’m excited to hear more from this band and hope that on their next release they come out of the traps at full speed, rather than needing to take a few songs as a run-up.