Edgy ethereality is a style that’s au courant in the modern climate of pop music, but Declan Vink is an artist ploughing this particular furrow more impressively than most.
The songs that comprise 2018’s “This Must Be The Place” EP mix delicate vocals with ambient, intoxicating pop swirls – four tracks that draw melancholy into an acoustic embrace, bursting with slow-burning hooks and rich, romantic appeal.
Self-described as a purveyor of “dreampop”, Vink’s style is one too vast and varied to ascribe to a reductive genre, with each song sauntering through a series of emotions as they try out the trends and trappings of modern pop for size.
“You” opens proceedings from a wistful acoustic plain before unfurling into a moving multi-instrumental patchwork whilst the EP’s violin-heavy, Kerouac-referencing title track is suggestive of a restless existence with several opposing influences picked up along the road.
“Falling” is certainly the most chart-ready, its catchy call-and-answer style adding an infectious flourish to a number where Vink’s shy, affectionate vocals are extremely reminiscent of electro-pop superstars Years & Years.
Disparate though the EP may be, what ties it all together is Vink’s gentle delivery and deft understanding of the makeup of a successful pop record, the wider band’s wherewithal to craft music and melodies that touch on various styles but maintain a strict sense of originality.
Declan Vink is a dreampop project originating from Leeds. Beginning as a brother and sister duo, the act has now involved into a four piece. Find out more here and listen to “This Must Be The Place” below.
The very best rock ‘n’ roll is often the summation of two key areas: a knowing melancholia and a style strong enough to make such downbeat subject matter pale into insignificance.
Orlando upstarts The Spinning Stillness do this in spades, making sunny moments out of sobering meditations on the delightful “Happy Times” EP. The quartet’s sole release is notable for its charming, see-sawing spirit – each song a gorgeously positive explosion of joy and regret.
The EP’s perky title track and opener betrays the influence of the early-noughties garage rock resurgence and, on first listen, radiates a curious Britishness. Think the winsome joie de vivre of peak Libertines or the more commercially-minded output of early Razorlight and you’re on the right track. Nods to cooler, more cult outsider bands, such as Pixies, abound in Charlie Shephard’s sometimes sweet, sometimes curdled vocal delivery. A sumptuous, sunlit collage of indie idols.
Sonic exuberance is dialled down a notch on “To You”, a mellower, more complex offering than its predecessor. But that’s not to say it scrimps on infectiousness or likability, and the downturn in mood is smoothly countered by the track’s sashaying of duelling guitars and arresting textures. Malaise twisted to majesty.
The group’s distinctive luminous guitars and deadpan vocals once again reveal themselves on “Smooth Darkness”, a closing track that sails by on the EP’s catchiest, most heartfelt chorus. In its combination of enthusiasm and finger-pointing, it honours its oxymoronic title in the most startling fashion – the perfect aural bookend to the EP’s shape-shifting moods.
On “Happy Times”, The Spinning Stillness inject a much-needed shot of melody and innocence back into the arms of indie rock. With the future looking bright, we’re eager for our next hit.
The Spinning Stillness are an indie rock four-piece from Orlando, Florida. Listen to the “Happy Times” EP below. Check out the band’s website here.