Andrew Lemon reviews the latest tracks from PØRTS, Ryan Vail and Go Wolf
Go Wolf – One More Night
Belfast indie-poppers Go Wolf have long been seen as a Northern Irish act that have serious potential to go far on the international stage, and their latest slice of 80s-inspired synth-pop only serves to underline that assertion.
'One More Night' arrives several months after the band's earlier single, 'Voices', appeared on a Kitsuné Maison compilation. Like its predecessor it displays all the calling cards of the cooler-than-thou French record label. As such, the neatly-picked guitar licks, danceable rhythms and a general nostalgic feel throughout are all present and correct – but it's impressive that Go Wolf have avoided the sugary-sweet pitfalls of some of their contemporaries.
'One More Night' never feels contrived, which may be in part down to its seemingly grown-up lyrics: '7am in a car park, fix your hair and your make up / Asking how did we get to this?' Given that indie-pop bands are ten-a-penny these days, Go Wolf will have to continue to keep these sorts of contrasts throughout their catalogue in order to stand apart from the crowd, but it seems as though they've got the formula sorted. 'One More Night' is available to download from iTunes from June 2.
Ryan Vail – Grow
'Grow' is the eponymous title track from Ryan Vail's forthcoming EP. Surprisingly, it's the first track to be released by the duo – songwriter and producer Ryan Vail and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Katie Cosgrove – in over a year, though it's instantly recognisable as a Ryan Vail track.
As with most of the Derry~Londonderry duo's output, 'Grow' appears upon first listen to have an inherent sadness to it: 'You don't know what I've been told / I'll die young, but you'll grow old.' But, according to its author, the track is written from the perspective of a friend, who passed away.
This provenance shouldn't make a difference, but it undoubtedly adds an emotional weight to a track that is already commanding, from its off-kilter percussion and powerful electronic beats to Vail's half-sung, half-hushed vocals. Strangely affecting. Listen to Grow on Soundcloud now.
PØRTS – Ancient Wave
The much-lauded and promising Derry~Londonderry band Little Bear have recently been forced to undergo a swift name change to the nautically-themed PØRTS. Given that there are several other bands with the name – plus the fact that Little Bear is a trademark in the United States – it's probably a wise move, if a little disorientating from a young band on the rise.
Still, if the output continues to be of the quality of soaring new single 'Ancient Wave', then the band should have no problems in ensuring audiences remember the new name.
The track continues to build on the themes that the band have explored to date, namely folk-rock-flecked vocals, melodic guitar lines – which here stray into post-rock territory – and slow-burning anthemic build-ups.
Whether 'Ancient Wave' is indicative of a more guitar-led, fleshed-out sound from the quartet we will have to wait and see, but if they're willing to take their previously popular trademark sound and build on it, then it can only point to a bright future for PØRTS. Download 'Ancient Wave' now.