Amber Run // 5AM [album review + interview]

Incase you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the little buzzes about Amber Run.  The band that’s been enlightening us with their joyous harmonies and multi-angle pop/rock sound, proving a force to be reckon with. Amber Run’s debut album 5AM releases today and sets the path for the long road ahead.

5AM understandably opens with the track making it’s rounds over the last several months, ‘I Found’. The perfect song to showcase what’s special about Amber Run, their unique sense of harmonies, thrown together with their signature blend of atmospheric electronics. ‘I Found’ tumbles into a beautiful little interlude track ‘M.F.’ which then kicks to another familiar tune, ‘Spark’.  A fitting transition into the rock infused Amber Run tunes which come to follow.  Continuing down the path, we reach another little interlude, taking us down another deeper channel.  The one that tells the coming of age pieces, like ‘5AM’, or the one that give us our new wake-up anthem, ‘Good Morning’.  The songs that blend the craftful songwriting with the unique musicianship.

There’s something deep you can appreciate about 5AM as a whole.  It’s like a film, in a way.  There’s an easy opening, a kick into action, a transition into life lessons and an easy finish.  There’s a respect you can have for artists who are able to put together cohesive albums these days and not just jumbling songs together.  Especially since any fellow Amber Run fans have already heard about half of these songs within the last year through single releases and EPs.  The songs were recreated in a way through their careful placement in the album, or little reworking, which you’ll find in ‘Noah’.

Another appreciation any art fan can have, outside of the music, are the cohesive pieces these guys have worked on for this album.  Wether it be the series of music videos that are all intertwined into unique stories.  Or the multiple teaser art pieces they created leading up to the album announcement.

Lastly, and most importantly, I got a chance to chat with Tomas Sperring (bass, vocals) of Amber Run about the new album, and some other amusing nonsense...

Quick intro in a sentence or two of who Amber Run are:

TS: Amber Run are 5 best friends making music we love, and we are going to be huge in the coming years.

5AM seems to draw in a couple different musical aspects, was there any certain inspiration or influence(s) tied into the album?

TS: Yeah, all five of us listen to quite an array of different music. The majority of the songs start with a folkier root, and other elements are brought in around that. There's always an element of the post-rock we listen to (This Will Destroy You, Explosions In The Sky) that we like to draw in subtly for a more atmospheric sound, and for the first time we have experimented with more electronic elements. In recording the album, for the first time we actually had the means to try new things and we're extremely happy with how it came out.

Your recorded tracks have a very melodic/harmonious sound. What do you feel carries over/changes between live sets and recordings, or do you work to make sure things are as similar as possible?

TS: It does feel like our songs have more of an edge live. For want of a less cringeworthy term, you can 'rock-out' a bit more, make things sound a bit bigger. But then it wouldn't be Amber Run if we didn't bring right back down to its most intimate and really bare the harmony and melody.

Do you have a favourite track off the album?

TS: Mine is probably 'Hurricane' - it's a fun track that you can dance to a bit, and it's great to play.

Is there a story behind the album being called 5AM (aside from the song)?

TS: A guy that has always stood by us and worked with us from the beginning, producing our EPs, working on all of our demos in our downtime and helping produce the album in full is a guy called Sam Winfield. We honestly cannot be thankful enough for all of his work and help over the years, he is much like a sixth member. So it's almost a homage to him, as much as a lyric in the title track and it provides the right sort of visual to accompany it all.

If you could have a dream tour with anyone, who would it be and where would you all go?

TS: I think we'd all pick different bands if I'm honest... It's gotta be Elbow, or Coldplay or Radiohead (my personal choice would have to be Brand New) and we'd go absolutely everywhere, all four corners. A show a night for 2 years, that's the dream.

Favorite food to eat on tour?

TS: Burritos. Wherever we are, we always end up getting Mexican.

If you could pick one food (or drink if you want to go that route) to compliment 5AM, what would it be and why?

TS: Oh I should probably say a fine red wine, because you could sit, enjoy, and reflect. In reality it would be black coffee and tequila, because that was the diet when we recorded it.

Between the five of you, what’s the different music like in the van when you’re traveling? Does it vary a lot?

TS: Extremely so! Depends who is in control, and also what time of day it is and where we're headed. Felix will always find a way to play some Pearl Jam or Ride or My Bloody Valentine, but if we've played a show and are all pretty mellow, we'll be listening to James Blake or Sivu. There's always endless Radiohead and Arcade Fire bandied around too. When the time is right we'll even step it up a notch with individual DJ sets on Novation Launchpad, that's always a laugh.

5AM is now available on iTunes // Follow Amber Run here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube 


Words by: Carolyn Lederach

Carolyn Lederach

Philadelphia, PA