Review: The First – Take Courage

Honestly, it’s a mystery to me how Cambridge’s The First aren’t bigger than they are.

With two albums now under their belt, and having supported the likes of hardcore heavyweights Gallows, they still don’t seem to be getting the recognition that they deserve. Here’s hoping that the band’s second full-length album ‘Take Courage’ will change all of that.

While their first album ‘Swimming with Sharks’ cut a straightforward rock-edge, with raw guitars and an often-blistering pace, ‘Take Courage’ sees the band evolve and try their hand at a more balanced, more wholesome record. Where ‘Swimming with Sharks’ was, at times, a collection of (albeit thoroughly enjoyable) singles, ‘Take Courage’ seems to have been written as a collective experience.

The main difference that must be noted is the variation of the songs on this album. From the hardcore-influenced ‘Love. Regret. Forgive. Forget’ to the slower, moving, hauntingly beautiful ‘Tonight, Tonight’, there’s something for everybody to sink their teeth in to, and fans of their first album will see a welcome nod towards it with ‘Shark Attack’, a song that could well have been written as a ‘Swimming with Sharks’ b-side.

With an impressive list of supporting sets and a fuller, more complete record recently released, it should only be a matter of time before The First rise to the level of their contemporaries, and start attracting the attention that their music merits. It really does speak for them, and here’s to ‘Take Courage’ being the first step towards something bigger.

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