Posts Tagged ‘A-Ha’

Christopher Nosnibor

Daily, I read about how the current situation is affecting bands, and, indeed, every aspect of the music industry. That said, it’s always the grass roots and lower echelons who are hardest hit, as is the case in any kind of crisis. Major-league artists will always be ok as gong as there are radio stations to play their stuff and produce a steady flow of royalties, and their millions of fans continue to stream their songs endlessly online. Beyoncé, Bono, and Ed Sheeran aren’t going to starve under lockdown.

But bands who rely on gigs in pubs alongside other bands who rely on gigs in pubs to find a fanbase and maybe flog enough merchandise to cover their fuel between said gigs have nothing to fall back on.

Sleep Kicks’ story is by no means unique, but they way they tell it as they present their new single really brings it home:

The whole live music scene shut down less than two weeks after our debut single came out. Instead of doing gigs and rehearsals, we just kept going, working on our own with a handful of songs we had recorded. Mixing, videos, artwork – the lot. We suddenly realised that one of the songs happened to describe this weird situation, and the feeling we somehow knew we would have once this whole thing was over. In short, the soundtrack to coming out of urban lockdown. It turned out an epic ode to the city, and at least it helped ourselves keeping the spirits up during the bleak times!

With ‘Recovery’, the Norwegian quartet paint scenes of an empty world springing back to life, and the difficulties of the prospect of readjustment.

A rolling rhythm and chiming guitar pave the way for a strolling bass motif and they coalesce into a spacious, reflective soundscape that sits between A-Ha, Editors, and mid-80s U2 and Simple Minds. Things kick up a notch and even nod toward anthemic around the mid-point of this six-and-a-half minute epic, before blossoming fully for a mesmerising final minute, where it soars on every level as they cast their eye to a brighter future: not the chalk-drawn rainbow on the pavement featured on the cover art, but a life of fulfilment, a re-emergence from the stasis of the now to actually living, rather than merely existing.

For a ‘little’ band, they have a big, ambitious sound that’s also got big audience potential. Here’s hoping they fulfil it.

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10th February 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

If dreampop has overbearing connotations of weak and wispy, vague and ethereal, then the slant on the genre VEYU bring on ‘Where Has The Fire In You Gone?’ a taster of their forthcoming EP, ‘Underbelly,’ will likely confound the expectations of many. The chiming guitars and layered atmospherics are all present and correct, but they’re married to a hard-driving and insistent rhythm track that owes more to the conventions of rock.

Chris Beasley’s vocals are distinctive and commanding. Shifting effortlessly from a delicate, haunting falsetto to a strong, emotionally forceful tenor, comparisons to Morten Harket are perhaps obvious but entirely justified. But then, A-Ha were fantastic at penning pop songs which are both gripping and moving – a fact perhaps eclipsed by their biggest hits – and with elements of early New Order also in the mix, VEYU look capable of marking out their own territory in the contemporary musical landscape.