Strike The Colours Makes a Lasting Impression


I suppose it would be safe to assume that Jenny Reeve is finally on the verge of catching her big break. Although she is the front-woman and lead songwriter for the new Glasgow-based act Strike The Colours, Reeve has been developing her musical abilities for several years now. A studio musician who has endured a high amount of demand throughout her young and blooming career, Reeve has played both live and in the studio with the likes of Arab Strap and Idlewild. Despite being a respected musician with several prominent bands pleading for her contributions, Reeve apparently decided that it was time to strike up a project of her own. In late 2003, while still a member of her original band Eva, Reeve began writing songs for a yet untitled project, later to be called Strike The Colours. By 2004, Reeve had cut most of her ties with her collaborative bands in order to focus solely on her own project. She began an extensive tour after gathering bassist Gareth Russell and drummer Denis Sheridan, receiving feedback from audiences and fellow musicians after the group recorded their first batch of demos, the September Sessions, later that year. Reeve sang the majority of the vocals and was a driving instrumental force, with the handful of demos garnering the attention of several other bands, leading to Strike The Colours playing opening gigs for Arab Strab and Idlewild. After guitarist Davy McAulay joined Strike The Colours in 2005, more opening slots ensued for the band as they opened for Malcolm Middleton, Holly Golighty, and The Posies in a further effort to generate hype for their debut album. After building up steam through a handful of demos and memorable live shows, the band’s first authentic release will be out on June 18th. Titled The Face That Sunk A Thousand Ships, it is Strike The Colours’ debut mini-album, consisting of six very illustrious songs.

While Reeve may come off as one of those clichéd shy, cute, indie girl types when she does not have an instrument in hand, her presence on the stage is undoubtedly absorbing. Spectators claim that she walks on stage with a shy grin, looking like the girl-next-door with that irrepressible charm that draws the attention of nearly everyone in the room. However, as soon as she plays the first set of notes on her violin, her amiable appearance becomes nonexistent. In such a superficial society, it appears that music and art are a few of the only sources that, while in the presence of instrumentation, cause looks to not equate in an overall conclusion, for once. It also helps that Reeve’s musical style is approachable from the get-go, presenting a form of shimmering indie pop in which catchiness radiating brightly over works of strings, guitars, and percussion. Reeve and her bandmates play with such delectation and ease, making their glossy pop hooks noticeably consummate as they glide smoothly over Reeve’s lightly cherubic vocals, usually sung in upper range while managing to both relay the slight emotional twang of Stevie Nicks and the high-pitched innocence of Kori Gardner.


The six songs on their debut mini-album, The Face That Sunk A Thousand Ships, are all contained within an impressive range of flexibility, with songs like the bouncy and electric “Safety In Numbers” standing alongside other tracks like the piano-led “Bare Legs In A Storm” and the bleakly atmospheric “30 Miles An Hour” with ease and attainability. The mini-album’s concluding song, “We Dreamed Of Stars”, is touched with solely a broodingly beautiful violin, a few slight plucks of an acoustic guitar, and Reeve’s luxoriously soothing vocals. While the least complex and invigorated of the six songs on the album, it is the most beautiful and will be the one that will surprisingly leave the deepest memory. On the catchier side, “Safety In Numbers” is a smartly written pop song that shows pure spirit while detailing the questions involved in entering a new phase of romance or life. “And I told you I would be your question mark,” Reeve sings brightly, “and I’d hang around your head when it gets dark.” While “Choose Me” is not as instrumentally singular as “We Dreamed Of Stars” or directly excitable as “Safety In Numbers”, the realization contained in reaching for a dissatisfaction in loneliness provides for quite a touching song, touched by yet another set of impressive instrumentation. “Choose me, I promise I’d choose you,” Reeve states confidently, with the music providing a doubtless echo. With such an impressive debut worth heaps of potential, it is seemingly easy to believe her.


Strike The Colours – Safety In Numbers



Strike The Colours – We Dreamed Of Stars



Strike The Colours – Choose Me



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Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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