Words by Archie Whincup
I'm always a bit skeptical when a band changes their name. Normally it's a process mired in some controversy (Hello there, Viet Cong), a hurried reaction to stymie bad press. Even more often though, a band does not change their name when they really should, I'm looking at you, Gallows, Guns N' Roses; the bands that changed beyond recognition after line-up changes.
Earlier this year, the super promising young band Ørmstons announced they were taking on a whole new identity and rebranding as RAE . My first thought was, why? Aside from the obvious, impossible to type and puzzling to pronounce 'Ø', the bane of every person who’s written about the band, it seemed like a bit of a strange decision for a band who’d established foundations in the Yorkshire music scene.
Is google-ability worth an entire re-brand? Probably? (If my Bradford accent told Alexa to stick on the latest Ørmstons track she’d melt trying to figure it out) But it still seemed to me like a strange decision for a young act building a profile to hit restart and start again.
However, when I heard their upcoming single Never Meant To Start A Witchhunt, it made sense, all the pieces fell into place.
Despite the group remaining intact through the rebirth, they’ve taken their sound a whole new direction. Their summery, almost twee, indie pop is replaced by a sound which feels more focused, more ambitious and sound where vocalist Jess Huxam’s is comfortably in the driving seat.
Never Meant To Start A Witchhunt feels like a statement of intent from the group, from the songs throat-grabbing opening riff to the subtly layered, empowered vocals of the chorus. It’s a track that’s sure of itself and it’s imposing sound.
A positive first impression of the new-(ish?) group and a debut that leaves you excited to see what the future brings.