The Decoy can almost come across as quaint. The first and third tracks on their debut full-length Avalon make heavy use of videogames in their wordplay, referencing Fallout: New Vegas and Bioshock Infinite respectively. Besides this, they’re a band unafraid to say “fee fi fo fum” and “YouTubing Adventure Time” in song (“Breathe”, “Kids”). However, behind this shallow look at the Decoy’s lyrics as pop culture packhorse, there’s a lot more going on. “Breathe” expands: “over time, I’ll be carving out the mountain sides, and we’ll lock eyes” – and “Kids” reflects, touching on childhood in the modern age (I’m loath to say millennial here) with poignant lines like “It takes a heavy head to sleep at night, but it keeps you thinking quick”.
Elsewhere, though, Avalon’s sheer quantity of ideas works to its disadvantage. The Decoy rip a heavy alt-rock sound that almost seems theatrical at times – the record is full of chugging guitar lines and wordless vocal swoops that smack of contemparies like Biffy Clyro and Lower Than Atlantis, with late-album cut “A Meze” providing some quieter respite. Where it occasionally falls short is in the structure; opener “Black Mountain Radio” in particular sounds somewhat like four different songs mashed together, jumping between disjointed hooks that seem misplaced next to each other. They’re not bad lines – just poor stablemates. This isn’t a perpetual flaw, though – the record has plenty of well-thought-out numbers, with “Kids” and “Live By The Axe” being particularly powerful guitar-driven juggernauts.
All in all, The Decoy have a solid debut in Avalon – with some tightening at the seams and stitching together, there’s potential for a fantastic alternative rock album; something a little less laden, yet still just as punchy.By Jowan Mead