Alphabet Backwards
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Alphabet Backwards

Oxford, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Oxford, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Pop Alternative




"It's hard not to be swept up by the jangly pop on offer here"

November might seem an odd time for Oxford five-piece Alphabet Backwards to release such a delightfully summery EP, but at least someone's trying to keep the winter blues away. Following on from May's successful White Russian EP, this new three song offering sees the band in chirpy mood. Whether it's reminiscing on failed relationships, wanting to dance or thinking about a chance encounter one night, it's hard not to be swept up by the jangly pop on offer here.
'Big Top' sees them in Kooks-mode with a nice tale of festival fun, while 'Tonight' provides the EP with its title; detailing one night of fun. Lead single 'Taller' meanwhile sees frontman James Hitchman reflecting on an ex-girlfriend's happiness with a new flame, but it's all delivered with an enjoyably poppy acoustic backing. Might be nice to see a darker side emerge eventually, but there's plenty to enjoy here as an optimistic antidote to the city's big musical name, Radiohead. - Soundblab

"Alphabet Backwards' ear for a catchy melody is hard to ignore"

Recently released through Highline Records, 'British Explorer' is a new three track EP from Oxford's Alphabet Backwards. With apparent support from the likes of Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson, and Steve Lamacq, the band have been making steady inroads during 2011, with their simple mission statement being to 'champion the noble art of pop music, dancing all the way'.

Opening track 'Big Top' brings up a clear comparison with Cardiff's Los Campesinos! with the dual combination of male and female vocals being a striking one, however some clever synths help to widen the gap between the bands' style, and Alphabet Backwards ear for a catchy melody is hard to ignore. 'Tonight' carries on in a similar vein, with an interesting mix up of acoustic guitars put against the synths, as well as a clear appreciation of space within the song, which helps to broaden the bands' appeal.

The final track of this short record is 'Taller', which is also the leading single to be taken from it. An obvious choice too after hearing the opening few bars, as some frankly irresistible vocals from frontman James Hitchman are played out over yet more guitar/synth based pop music. I think what helps make Alphabet Backwards stand out over their pop loving piers is that they do keep things simple, not being afraid to let their music and lyrics stand up for themselves, as opposed to other acts who throw everything into it hoping something will stick. - Music Liberation

"Alphabet Backwards are here to put a spring back in your step"

It may be cold and it may be wet and that lingering cold you have just will not go away but Alphabet Backwards are here to put a spring back in your step. This 5 piece band heralds from Oxford and brings with them an upbeat feeling even if their subject matter isn’t always the most cheery. To simply call Alphabet Backwards catchy would not do justice to how addictive their songs are and EP, “British Explorer”, really is.

The EP kicks-off with “Big Top”, a song that flows extremely smoothly and contains some beautiful harmonies between the lead vocalists. There are also some creative and well placed synths that add an extra layer which contributes to a polished feel. The next song “Taller” is my personal favourite and the lead song on the EP. It describes a situation that I am sure many of you can empathise with where you bump into an ex-girlfriend in the street with a new man and, as you may have guessed from the title, you wish you were that little bit taller. The lyrics are accessible and at times very poignant and yet whilst the song materiel is not the most happy, musically it evokes a sense of hope an emotion not easily conveyed. The EP comes to a close with “Tonight” which again contains excellent harmonies and some smart synths. The tempo feels high due to drums that prominently feature the cymbals and high hat.

So if you’re looking for a quality bit of upbeat pop then look no further that Alphabet Backwards and download their EP. But in case you need proof of what I say then Taller is available to stream below. - Listen Before You Buy


The British Explorer EP - Nov, 2011(Highline Records)
The White Russian EP - May, 2011(self-released)
The Superhero EP - Nov, 2010 (Kittiwake)
S/T mini-album - Nov, 2009 (Kittiwake)



Alphabet Backwards’ ethos is simple: to champion the noble art of Pop music, dancing all the way. It’s infectiously catchy music that puts a smile on your face. It’s a summery, joyous, happy-go-lucky affair, punctuated with an irresistible synth buzz and hooks aplenty - after all, pop is not a dirty word. The band grew around the song writing of James Hitchman. One man and his guitar can only go so far on his own, so he recruited friends Paul and Josh (of the T-Mobile JoshWard84 campaign fame) and Bob Tom on keys, who was working as a church organist at the time. Josh enlisted his sister Steph after he heard her singing in the shower. They’ve put the ground work in developing an enthusiastic and lively fan-base in Oxford, and the word is spreading fast. Recent radio play from Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson and Steve Lamacq secured substantial audiences on their recent tour. Festival season also brings much excitement, and reviews from Truck Festival have been glowing.

The new British Explorer EP marks the band's first recordings with Highline Records. The album was mixed at Press Play Studio with Andy Ramsay (Stereolab) and additional strings were recorded at Marlborough Farm in Brooklyn with Kyle Forester of Crystal Stilts and Gary Olson of The Ladybug Transistor.