The Brighton-based band's difficult second album wasn't so much the result of flagging creativity, but a deep and thorough test of their resilience as they faced many obstacles in getting to this place. Following the buzz and promise of their 2012 debut album Everything Touching, including headline tours and prime festival slots, the band lost their management and their label, and it looked like it had all been a false start. Even worse, there was a growing sense of momentum lost. But the band battled on, eventually signing a new deal with the rather brilliant local label Fat Cat. Impressions is the result of this testing birthing process, of battle scars and lessons learnt, but has nevertheless cemented the band's wish to be in control of ther own destiny. They literally went it alone for a while, out of necessity, in crafting what is a magnificently realised alt-rock album that is passionate, intense at times, and alternately tender and euphoric at others. It's big on ideas and sound, whilst at the same time allowing the music to breathe and enabling contemplation. It's anthemic, without being overblown; DIY without being shambolic. They say first impressions are everything. That may be true, but second time around, Impressions can also be the one that transforms Tall Ships from being one of the country's most promising rock acts, into the rock premiership.
I spoke to frontman and main songwriter Ric Phethean, just as they had started their UK tour, which will bring them back home to Brighton in early May.