This is my new favourite album. There are five tracks I absolutely love; and the rest is good too.
I had never heard of the band until I went to the End of the Road festival at the start of September. They were the first band we saw on Friday and they made a real impression. this is what I said in my review of the festival:
Our first band of the day was Amber Arcades on the Garden Stage. The band features Dutch singer Annelotte de Graaf on dreamy vocals and guitars. I really liked their sound. It’s hard not to lapse into clichés here, but there was a European-ness to the melodies: familiar, but infectious. There was a wooziness to it that conjured up My Bloody Valentine a bit. Maybe even Nico-era Velvet Underground. Or maybe The Delays (remember them?). Definitely one I shall research further.
Well, I have researched further!
The album is laced with lovely melodies, with Annelotte’s voice floating beautifully over the guitars. And those guitars! They shimmer, they shine. They are electric. Thinking about it now there’s maybe a bit of The Edge in U2 coming through – and that is always a big plus for me. It’s impossible to avoid a hint of a Blondie comparison – the melodies, the voice, and Annelotte’s look too. Nothing obvious, but there is a heritage. Even Abba, but only because of that European-ness which I talked about in my End of the Road blog. That sense of melody.
The songs I most like on the album, if you give it a listen, are: “Come With Me”, “Constant’s Dream”, “Fading Lines”, “Perpetuum Mobile” and “Turning Light”. Come with Me”, “Fading Lines” and “Turning Light” have the shimmering guitars and a pounding, almost-dance beat, with that voice hovering over them. “Constant’s Dream” has a simply strummed electric guitar and a really lovely, melancholy melody; while “Perpetuum Mobile” has a bass line at the beginning that made me think at End of the Road that they were going to sing “Stand by Me”, the old soul tune. Needless to say, it’s nothing of the sort.
It’s not a world-changer. But it is a great indie-pop album. Familiar in many ways, but different too. The lovechild of Abba and the Velvet Underground (or U2), maybe.
There are moments where you might want to play that invisible guitar. And the melodies, melancholy and beautiful, might just hook you too.
If you live in London, they play a place called the Moth Club in Hackney on 20 October. I’ll be there!
And here are a couple of samples of their music; “Turning Light” and “Fading Lines”.