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The Notebook (pic by Gavin Freeborn)

They were one of the bands that blew us away at Kendal Calling festival and now we’ve bagged you a FREE download by the awesome Hull-based band The Notebook.

They have undoubtedly got the talent and tunes to trump pretty much every other band gunning for glory, but when it comes to luck The Notebook are the definite underdogs. Indeed, the title their self-released EP, Broken Up, could reflect the unfortunate fate suffered by the band since forming four years ago.

Within six months of buying their first van it spontaneously burst into flames only for its replacement to crash at the hands of a heavily medicated 88-year-old; writing it off, and leaving the band semi-conscious in a sea of blood and glass. Then, later that year, their 8-track recorder was the sole survivor in a factory fire. Lucky, yes, until the irreplaceable machine was destroyed by an over-eager sprinkler system.

Of course all this has only added to the ‘us against the world’ mentality of the group. With their brooding pop underpinned by a real sense of urgency, they’re the alternative soundtrack to an Irvine Welsh novel, where lines about sex, drugs, violence and escapism are lovingly offset with wit, warmth and a sense of hard-won wisdom.

“We won’t be doing ten minute guitar solo’s, we won’t be working with Saxophinists, and we most certainly won’t have any sixteen beat disco drums going on,” says frontman Rory Mansfield.

He’s right. The group’s bowed guitars, keys and post-rock drums come together to create a cinematic sound somewhere between The Shins and The Bad Seeds, while live they share the same indefinable sense of occasion as the likes of Sigur Rós and Arcade Fire. And, like their kingly counterparts, their live shows are more occasions than mere gigs with their performance at this year’s Kendal Calling festival alongside the likes of These New Puritans, Doves and British Sea Power cementing their reputation as an unmissable live act.

Having carved out some sturdy relationships on the road, the band recently formed their own imprint, Coal Shed Records, which will see the release of their first official EP this autumn – a collection of tunes that finds their stock themes of hope and hopelessness backed by some truly chest-swelling melodies.

“As we have recorded ourselves a lot we definitely respect DIY musicians and people like Elliot Smith and Jim Noir have been a big inspiration to our ethos,” says Rory. “We’re an honest band and we won’t be pigeonholed by a scene or pander to any cultural changes.”

With a move to London planned, the group will see off their hometown in style later this year, playing a show in December at the Albermarle Theatre with the 25-piece Hull Symphony Orchestra featuring an original score by the band. That is, of course, if lady luck remains on their side…

To download their song, Fallow Field for free simply follow this LINK.