As Essex 4-piece Amoriste finish setting up and draping their moniker-emblazoned banner across the Box window, watching frontman Liam Tolan readying himself at the mic with an Alex James-like hairdo you could be forgiven for expecting 30-minutes of stand-offish indie arrogance. And once the opening ethereal keys sequence swells to its climax and the band launch into Coldplay-esque stomp ‘Berlin’, your arm is hovering above your back, ready for a self-congratulatory pat, pat, pat. However, as the song drives towards its refrain of “oh-oh-ah-oh we’re in Berlin” you begin to get a sense of warmth and accessibility in the vocal melody and chord structuring which suggests something quite different. Three-songs in, when the band are bopping their way through ‘Footloose & Fancy Free’, the parallels in style with acts such as The Feeling and Keane become more obvious, and with every passing song, their ‘built-for radio’ songwriting and musicianship is further reinforced.
Amoriste are a polished and professional act, which sees them effortlessly gleam the best sound of the night out of the venue. They are the kind of act that every track is a single and every second line is a hook, something which will have been of major benefit on their UK tour thusfar. Songs such as ‘Turn Out Their Lights’ and ‘This Park is Mine’ are piano-driven pop songs which are one appearance on Orange Unsigned Act away from music TV and Radio 1, and when up-coming single ‘Secrets’ reaches its Keane-esque groove, the simple chord progression and lamenting vocals cast up images of an HBO emotional montage. But all of this is done with a level of class and an air of genuine passion from the band, something illustrated by Liam and bassist David Crawford’s animated stage presence.
On this night and on this stage however, the fact that they are a touring act and that their style is not what you would immediately associate with the Box are two factors which are working against them. This, I imagine, will not be an issue however on the remaining dates of their tour as they stop off at the birthplace of the pop hook, The Cavern Club, before completing their circuit on home soil. Their stint up North is over, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next time they’re back it’s via national broadcast.