Single Reviews: 27 January 2023: Sad Girls Aquatics Club, Niches, Lucas Mellone, Cirklen, PLF

Sad Girls Aquatics Club - Beyond The Blue


Purveyors of smooth and fashionable "break up pop", Yinzer duo Sad Girls Aquatics Club have released the simple and catchy "Beyond The Blue". Members Marie Mashyna and Chelsea Rumbaugh set sporadic hits of futuristic electro against bright disco guitar and vocals that exude a nonchalant cool. "And you wonder where your time will go" offers the lyrics, alluding to a night spent driving into the abyss, a journey wonderfully serviced by this laid-back electronic pop song.

Lucas Mellone - Myself is Missing 


Perhaps the most exciting thing about an artist's debut single is that they can only have one. Thankfully for Brazilian upstart Lucas Mellone, his first release, "Myself is Missing", is a strong opening statement. Blending delicate acoustic folk stylings with more experimental and atmospheric electronics, Mellone builds the track's mood up through restrained but direct vocals and a comprehensive stereo sound that lets the earthy percussion and odd sounds evolve together with orchestral scope. The twenty-something's voice has a maturity beyond his years, his deep croon packing an emotional punch filled with layers of nuance. This absorbing track is an exciting introduction to an artist who can put their own spin on tried and tested formulas. 

Cirklen - Falls - Rolls

classical / instrumental

Six acoustic guitars and a classical choir doth not an ensemble make. At least, that was the case until Cirklen, along with the MidtVest Girls' Choir, released "Falls-Rolls", the first excerpt from the album "Genklang". Cirklen is a group of Danish artists who, since 2009, have created "immersive works at the intersection of architecture, music and audience participation." Despite the long history, this is Cirklen's first official musical release. The piece is a convincing argument for the surprising and seemingly arbitrary combination of multiple acoustic guitars and voices. The natural elements help to give a very human feeling to this haunting song. Sustained choral and bright acoustic guitars liberally play around an abstract musical phrase before cohesion is achieved with European folk colliding against vocals that take on a liturgical angle, lending a sense of tradition and folklore to this celestial piece that also has a foot on solid ground.

Niches - Gone In A Blink 


The current explosion of bodacious music from Brighton is further evidenced by cleverly dark pop-punk instigators Niches. Frontperson Lilli Southgate emanates cool, delivering her sarcastic lines with a bubblegum sweetness heavily contrasted by the heavy, chugging music ("Oh my little baby, you let the world pass you by"). This three-and-half-minute track flies by yet feels substantial, with an eruptive chorus, a theatrical middle 8th, and joyous turns to instrumental electro-rock passages. There is quite a punch packed into this deceivingly straightforward tune.

PLF - Safe night with a woodpecker


The largely-improvised solo side-project of Lille-based artist Pierre-Louis Fran├žois, PLF deals in idiosyncratic electric guitar compositions that are delayed and layered into a neat mesh of form with edges so jagged they pierce as they playfully transpose to strange keys. A sense of rhythm is highly pronounced on the single "Safe night with a woodpecker", taken from the EP Piano Magique, and like a manic tour guide who had too much coffee, PLF dashes from one place to another across this brooding piece, showing those who follow danceable rhythms, psychedelic confusion, and unrelenting artistry from a player with their focus on the underworld.