Thula Borah
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Thula Borah

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Alternative

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"Ruminations On Power Corrupting"

Glasgow’s Thula Borah have been on the MPT radar for the last few years and recently launched their new record ‘Hope For Disappointment’.

The band operate somewhere between rock and post-rock and HFD gives you a pretty good idea of their scope and, to these ears at least, marks a slightly different direction for the band.

Although only available on CD, the six tracks on ‘Hope …’ seem to have been sequenced specifically to suit a vinyl record with two distinct sides.

The three tracks on “Side 1” taken together make up the heaviest run of songs they’ve released to date.

Lead track ‘Bone Ships’ would be the obvious “single”. Its dreamy intro is deceptively short as a massive riff hammers in at the end of the first verse. Although they pull the same trick shortly afterwards you’re left hanging for further heavy gratification as the band build up the tension over the rest of the song before a glorious solo heralds (finally!) the return of that riff.

‘Estella’ keeps the adrenaline levels high with more crunching guitars and is a song that reminds me very much of the heavier side of NYC’s ‘The Big Sleep’. ‘Resonant Evil’ is the record’s only instrumental with its metallic riffing conjuring up strong memories of the late lamented ‘You Already Know’. At this point, on first listen, I did wonder if I was listening to a different band.

However “Side 2” sees the band ease back somewhat and return to more familiar guitar soundscapes. Nevertheless ‘I Never Made You Laugh’ manages to reach quite a crescendo from a typical quiet/loud dynamic.

Their Mogwai influences come to the fore on ‘Small Margins’, the music acting as a backing to (presumably) an audio extract whilst final track ‘Fairytale’ is a beautiful and haunting conclusion to the record.

Simply put ‘Hope For Disappointment’ is an exhilarating and affecting album of inventive guitar music, by turns assertive then introspective but never less than compelling. It’s also their best record to date. - Manic Pop Thrills Blog


"REVIEW | Thula Borah: Hope For Disappointment"

Glasgow band Thula Borah have built a reputation over the past few years as one of the city’s finest upcoming alternative acts, having released a variety of high-quality records, and now they look to continue that streak with their latest offering, Hope For Disappointment.

They start off with the slick Bone Ships which is teeming with glossy riffs and a catchy rhythm; same case scenario for Estella, with the addition of memorable writing to further boot.

Resonant Evil is a rousing post-rock number characterised by, fittingly enough, a dark and dreary sound, whilst the slower I Never Made You Laugh progresses and builds toward a fiery finale.

Small Margins captures the audience’s attention with some thought-provoking themes, before the band cap off the record in style with the ambient, melodic Fairytale.

If there was one minor complaint we had, it’s that sometimes the vocals can be mixed a little too quietly underneath the instrumentals, making it hard to pick up on the lyrics.

But that’s a serious nitpick and it does little to take away from what is ultimately a great record that made quite the good first impression on us. This is a group we certainly need to catch live as soon as possible; talent like this cannot afford to go amiss on stage. - Local Music Scene


"Thula Borah: Hope for Disappointment EP review"

Scottish alt-rock ensemble Thula Borah originally began as a drum machine project by members Matthew Williams and Lloyd Fay, before becoming a four piece act through the addition of Kevin Heimann and Michael O’Rourke. Since then, they’ve been conquering the crowds in their homeland at venues and events such as King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Nice N Sleazy, The Classic Grand and the Edinburgh Festival.

A number of national media outlets have also showcased their skills, including BBC Radio, Kerrang and Heartland FM. On top of all of that, they’ve managed to win over thousands of followers on social media. Their latest EP, Hope for Disappointment, arrived online on October 16th and demonstrates why it is that they’ve become so well regarded.

“Bone Skips” commences the compilation by moving off upon mellow music that bursts into an exhibition of exhilarating riffs, which hit hard before toning back down for a melancholy melody. There’s an air of urgency that persists throughout the piece, endowing it with a dire demeanour. Its explosive choruses act as a captivating contrast to its downbeat but endearing verses, resulting in a fast and forceful affair that serves as an engrossing opening.

The pace of “Estella” is just as pressing as it dives straight into heavy guitars which make a powerful impact amid the vigorous vocals. The instrumentation stays speedy and intense for the entirety of its four minutes, making for an invigorating alt-rock anthem that leaves a lasting impression. “Resonant Evil” emanates a sinister air afterwards via maniacal guitars that progress purposefully and absorb absolutely. The music is irresistibly arresting as it burns bitingly forward to forge an exciting instrumental undertaking.

“I Never Made You Laugh” is another sombre song that starts more reserved than its predecessors. A solemn serenade blows chillingly through rigorous riffs and poignant percussion, creating an affecting hard-rock outing. “Small Margins” displays a more optimistic attitude, sailing off upon warm riffs which uplift as they progress peacefully. An enticing spoken word harmony adds to the upbeat atmosphere and persists all the way to the loud and lively climax. “Fairytale” succeeds it to serve as a stirring swansong made up of gentle guitars and soft singing.

Thula Borah are definitely a band that are worth taking the time to investigate. They’ve put together an extremely accomplished alternative endeavour here which samples several sub-genres in a mesmerising manner. Its melodic delivery is sure to find favour with fans of all kinds of rock music the world over. Check it out on iTunes now. - Pure M Magazine


"Running Out of Time – Thula Borah E.P. review"

Thula Borah are a four piece from Glasgow who released 5 track E.P. ‘Live Secretly’ back in February. The E.P. was recorded at Gargleblast Studios with Andy Miller.

‘Live Secretly’ is a massive sounding record, which draws on Mogwai at their most epic but is also a little rockier than Glasgow’s most famous instrumental practitioners can be. Whilst opening track ‘Organic Paranoia’ is an instrumental, the rest of the tracks feature dreamy vocals which wouldn’t be out of place on a shoegaze track. Not surprisingly when the going gets noisy the voice has to fight for its place in the mix.

Thing is, Thula Borah operate in an area that I sometimes have difficulty in connecting with. I generally like instrumental bands but some rock bands not that far removed from Mogwai can come over a little po faced.

But Thula Borah manage to walk that line and carry it off. The first sign of that was when second track ‘Skye Is Falling’ popped unbidden into my head after just a couple of plays. The reason? It’s got a melody. But it also embodies the best of the E.P. pitching that tune into a song that alternates between acoustic guitars and a wall of noise.

‘Murder’ meanwhile plays almost against the quiet-loud archetype – it’s got enough confidence in itself to resist the temptation to really explode until pretty much the last minute of its near 8 and a half minutes running time.

Last track ‘Violence Is Forever’ though, at nearly 10 minutes long, is the true epic. An insistent guitar leads the song off bulding towards a metallic section. By the time the conclusion’s reached there’s no restraint, no holding back for its skyscraping finale.

Get the E.P. from their Bandcamp on a name-your-own-price deal, whilst their 2011 LP ‘Mind River Matter’ is also available there, for the princely sum of £3. - manicpopthrills blog


"Thula Borah – Live Secretly Review"

ANOTHER REASON TO LOVE THULA BORAH

This band. This bloody band are too good. It’s getting to the point that I am getting rather annoyed that I have only listened to their music and never seen them live (a statistic I will rectiy tonight).

Since doing my feature on Glasgow band Thula Borah and reviewing their maiden release “Mind River Matter”, which was a great, mind bending album, they have released their second E.P. “Live Secretly” only 9 days ago. Upon hearing that a second release was on its way I was always going to be wondering to myself if Thula Borah would manage to include the huge amount of diversity into their second release as they had done for their first. Well. They did. It’s a little less sparsely used in this release but Thula Borah still showcase all their talents for writing in different genre styles so well. The initial reason why I have grown to love them so much. They really do write some challenging but infectious music.

I’m not really a fan of doing track by track reviews of albums but I’m going to be doing it for this one as I really enjoyed every track on this release. Usually I find that there is always one or two weaker or disappointing tracks on E.P.s (Cynic’s Carbon Based Anatomy is a great example of this) but this E.P. is chock full of cracking tracks. So here goes.

1 – Organic Paranoia

Following along the idea from “Mind River Matter” Thula Borah kick off the album with another instrumental piece. However, Organic Paranoia is worlds apart from the opening track on MRM “Oppenheimer I”. Organic Paranoia kicks off with waves of synth flowing through the opening passages. It’s pretty much the last thing I was expecting from this track. Then (and this is what I really love about this song) a programmed drum beat kicks in giving the song a sort of electronica feel to it. So pretty much straight away Thula Borah have added another aspect and genre style to their music (as if there wasn’t enough already). The usual post-rock vibe does begin to kick in and when it does it really turns this track into a soaring epic of an opener. It sets up the album nicely and I do love the way Thula Borah look like they choose to kick of all their releases. With a strong instrumental track.

2 – Skye Falling

The dynamic shift into “Skye Falling” is quite cool. It drops you into some laid back acoustic guitar and vocal arrangement for the first minute but right after this you are thrown face first into a straight up rock track. The musical arrangement is prretty amazing here. It is a mostly acoustic oriented track but there are some fantastic post-rock inspired reverb wails throughout the track and I felt completely at home when the band launches you into the chorus with some crushing guitar and bass parts. I was put in mind somewhat of the track “Shimmer” off Mind River Matter and this track kind of felt like a natural progression from that track. Some great vocal harmonies and amazing musical dynamics really make this track.



3 – Murder

And so we kick off the first of three epic 8 minute plus tracks. “Murder” is actually my favourite track off this album for one, slightly bizarre, reason. It’s very minimalist and I love that. I tend to get quite bored and tired of minimalist arrangements of music but this track really impressed me. There is just enough going on in this track to keep me hooked and some of the songs aspects are really cool. I’ve grown to appreciate the vocals that are harnessed in Thula Borah recordings. It fills out the tracks more and adds another dynamic to their sound. This is very much the case with Murder. There is some guitar work in this song that can only be appreciated in this but every pales into the background when the vocals kick in. Graceful vocal passages allow the song to flow very evenly and they add to the overall minimalist feel of the song.



4 – (Null Interface)

This is pretty much the ultimate chill out track. This song encompasses everything that TWDY’s “Tunnel Blanket” should have been. Yes, a bit droney is good. But over the quiet, droning guitar sounds the other instruments are allowed to speak and deliver dynamics that really build the song up into a fuller track. (Null Interface) is also a perfect example of how post-rock music should be executed. Great sections of flowing, chilled out music followed by not one but TWO bruising built up sections of lovely noise. The perfect track to wind down to

5 – Violence is Forever

A big fat 9 minute song to close over this cracker of an E.P. I really appreciate a nice, long song on any release and this one delivers. It kicks of in a musical style that is pretty similar to the third track Murder. With seren vocal patterns but then it shoots off in a different direction. A bass line with a rather punky crunch to it kicks in and you know what you are in for. Some serious post-rock purity. I bsolutely love that this song seems to be one track split into two different sections but it works together a s a whole so well. The first “half” as mentioned does have the overall feel of the last two tracks. The second “half” encompasses all previous ideas used in the album all at once. Passages in which the acoustic guitar is brought back in, vocal harmonies soaring over the music are present but most importantly that lovely post-rock kick into a section of soundscape. The end of the song is majestic. It’s got the feel of Explosions in the Sky and I feel that it was a perfect way to close out the recording. On a high. And it left me on a high. And with a stunned expression on my face.



This band are rapidly becoming not only my favourite Glasgow band but my favourite band in general. They are playing at the second night of The Breadcrumb Trail tonight and I strongly advise that you go along and see them. I’ll be there. Front and centre. Soaking all the mental goodness that is Thula Borah.

You can download “Live Secretly” from the bands BandCamp site (http://thulaborah.bandcamp.com/album/live-secretly) on a pay what you want deal (if any millionaires are reading donate a huge chunk of money and do the right thing) and I cannot speak highly enough of this release. It was simply brilliant. Hats off to Thula Borah for releasing such a strong E.P. - John Niblock @ A Tidal Wave of Sound


"Thula Borah – Live Secretly EP"

As post-rock EPs go, this is one of the most varied-in-style I've heard. There's latter day Aereogramme on Skye Falling (the most conventional 'song' here), God Is An Astronaut on Organic Paranoia, some Mogwai on Murder – incidentally the stand-out track here. It's very difficult to stand tall from the post-rock crowd, but this is among the best I've heard in ages. - Lloyd @ Peenko


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Thula Borah are Lloyd James Fay (guitar + vocals), Matthew Williams (bass + vocals) and Kevin Heimann (guitar) and Michael O’Rourke (drums).

We are a four-piece band from Glasgow, whose sound is probably best described as a mixture of alternative-rock and post-rock, drawing influence from the likes of 90s guitar bands such as Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, REM and Radiohead merged with the dynamics and ambience of Mogwai, Sigur Ros and Isis but with some subtle slowcore influences of Low and Red House Painters too, much like another or our influences, Glasgow's much missed Aereogramme.

The band started as Matt and Lloyd jamming with a drum machine before becoming a fully fledged band as of late 2009 and we have since been gigging extensively, playing venues such as King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Nice N Sleazy, The Classic Grand and Oran Mor in Glasgow as well as at the Edinburgh Festival and various venues up and down Scotland, including a Scottish tour in 2013.

We have received airplay in as diverse places as BBC Radio One and Four, Radio Scotland, Radio North Angus, Heartland FM, Subcity and Amazing Radio as well as many stations and podcasts around the globe, and have also received favourable reviews in the Daily Record. We also recently reached the final of the Billy Kelly Songwriting competition which was won by Dumb Instrument who are currently achieving success with their single 'Suffering From Scottishness' and its accompanying album.

Band Members