The music of And So I Watch You from Afar, an instrumental rock band based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is frequently described as post-rock, but the foursome has more in common with contemporary math rock acts like Adebisi Shank and Maybeshewill. Having adopted tongue-in-cheek faux metal stage names like Bone Crusher and Gut Slurper, the band blends the ferocity and passion of classic '80s hardcore with the stage savvy and theatrical flair of arena metal for a fusion that is as invigorating as it is difficult to describe.
And So I Watch You from Afar formed in late 2005 in rural County Derry, Northern Ireland. Guitarists Rory Friers (aka Bone Crusher) and Tony Wright (aka Face Eater) had been members of the band Zombie Safari Park alongside drummer Chris Wee (aka Blood Gargler), and the three continued to play together following that group's demise. To their ranks they recruited bassist Johnny Adger (aka Gut Slurper), who had played in another band, Pepperbook, with Wright. Together, they moved to Belfast and quickly built up a live following in the city. In October of 2007, they teamed up with three other Belfast rock bands -- Driving by Night, LaFaro, and Cruz, as well as Fighting with Wire frontman Cahir O'Doherty -- to produce the EP Tonight the City Burns, a communal project that launched with a gig in Belfast featuring each of the bands.
In late 2007, And So I Watch You from Afar convened to the studio with producer Bo Sheppard to record their first split single, "I Capture Castles" backed with "The Voiceless." They wound up writing three additional songs and producing their first stand-alone EP, titled This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It, which they released themselves in April. It was subsequently re-released in March of 2008 via Forte Music Distribution. The EP sold out its stock within six weeks and allowed the band to embark upon tours to the U.K. (with Maybeshewill and This Town Needs Guns) and Ireland (with Adebisi Shank).
In April 2008, they began the recording process for their first full-length album, which was completed in July. They signed with Derry/London-based D.I.Y. label Smalltown America for the release. In early April of 2009, And So I Watch You from Afar released the split single "A Little Solidarity Goes a Long Way" backed with "Set Your Guitars to Kill" and, a week later, their debut album, named And So I Watch You from Afar. Two years later, they returned with their sophomore album, Gangs, which featured production from Oppenheimer's Rocky O'Reilly. In 2013, And So I Watch You from Afar released their third full-length album, All Hail Bright Futures, the group's first album since the departure of founding member Wright, and the recorded debut of guitarist Niall Kennedy. And So I Watch You from Afar's fourth studio album, Heirs, featuring the song "Run Home," was released in May 2015. Two years later, the band released fifth full-length The Endless Shimmering, which was recorded at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. ~ Dave Donnelly