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Rich Samuel

perfect body psych

EP: Bubblewrap Collective Presents Perfect Body & Zac White

Words – Richard Samuel

When it comes to psychedelic/shoegaze indie, Wales punches above its weight with its most famous export the Super Fury Animals still flying the flag well across the globe. Cardiff-based Bubblewrap Collective are keeping up that fine tradition. The label, who were behind 2017’s successful split EP with Boy Azooga and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, have just dropped their latest split EP release from psych-upcomers Perfect Body & Zac White.

Kicking off the two-track release, Cardiff’s Perfect Body. Formed in early 2017 and inspired by the sonic experimentation of bands like My Bloody Valentine, Stereolab, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Perfect Body are one of the highly-tipped in the Welsh capital. Having secured a place on the Green Man Rising stage earlier this year, in just over a year the five-piece have secured huge support from music outlets including Drowned in Sound, BBC Introducing alongside the PRS Foundation backed artist development scheme – Forté Project.

Upon pressing play, Perfect Bodies present us with the delicious pysch-pop track ‘Fields’, the music equivalent of sinking a pint of your favourite ice-cold beer. The distinctively polished production gives a garage-pysch feel to the reverb smothered hooks, the woozy glacial synthesisers that really drench in character from the otherworldly three-way vocals haunt the track. There is a certain haze and shimmer that shrouds the track, in turn making you envisage the band huddled together to record in their bedroom. Perfect Body retain pop sensibilities making it a wholly accessible listen, taking you on a trip that knows where it’s going but via the lovely scenic route to get its destination. Whether you want an easy or complex listen, this track has it both.

Zac White perfect body

Next up, 19-year-old Zac White. Honing his own sound based on influences such as Wilco, Loose Fur, Sonic Youth and Broadcast, Zak’s 90s/00s off-kilter indie sound has grown from minimal arrangements with drummer Ethan Hurst into a rollicking, reverb-drenched, garage-psych experience; or so we’re informed by the accompanying press release.

Zac’s new single ‘Spent On You’ featured on this split EP differs from that of which Perfect Bodies offer. Whilst it’s more accessible for a casual listener, once again the musician retains his soon-to-be trademark pop sensibilities with a contemplative sun-kissed melody, bounding baselines, and glistening riffs tiptoeing into a heart on the sleeve sing-along. Its hazy-pop perfect for those clear sunset evenings that the autumn brings.

The record – pressed to limited edition purple and orange vinyl – will be released on November 23rd, which you can Pre-order here.

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Horrors

If like me you remember the hype back in 2006, aka the indie-landfill era of Uk music in which Razorlight headlined Reading and Leeds festivals, Kasier Chiefs were known for stadium filling #1 hits and Bloc Party were set to be international music saviours then you might remember the buzz about The Horrors. ‘Look awful and sound terrible’ said the then NME editor Conor McNicholas about the band and then proceeded to put them on the front cover. The five piece have come a long way since their garage rock debut ‘Strange House’ 10 years ago, continually evolving and tweaking their sound into the shoegazing, neo-psychedelic and critically loved creative goodness that they are today.

The band are back with ‘V’, an album from a band who are comfortable within their own skin and are able to explore new sounds and challenge their extremely welcoming audience whilst sticking to their artistic vision with the grotesque album art-work. Even before first listen, we’re given an insight as to what we can expect – though refined in image from the ‘Strange House’ days, still a wholly boundary pushing band.

First track ‘Hologram’ sets the melancholy tone for the album perfectly before the unknowing listener is thrown into lead single ‘Machine’, a track pulsating in all the right places; the electronic wizardry starts elevating The Horrors to euphoric levels stuffed full of industrial synths. The Southend-on-Sea band leave the best until last as album closer ‘Something to Remember Me By’ is the album standout that feels fresh yet familiar at the same time. An undulating, energetic and intricate second single that retains an undeniable power an audibly all-encompassing sound, though a sound which somehow pulls off as melancholy as is a theme throughout V.

Faris Badwan’s vocals lend a classy air to proceedings when required though some of these sculpted anthems, something of which owe a little thanks to Paul Epworth’s (Adele/Bloc Party/Glass Animals/FKA Twigs/Lorde) stunning production as his electronic sheen is stamped all over the album. If there was to be one minor criticism of The Horrors latest release, it’s that the song-writing doesn’t really hold up to the glorious synthesised thrills and sparkling guitar-pop that is on offer here – the complex detail of each element is fused together wonderfully and presented pleasingly like something seen in a bake-off showstopper challenge.

This is an album that will doubt score high in the end of year and rightfully so with the craft, effort and magic that is holds – without sounding pretentious, V is a piece of art.

Listen back to our interview with frontman Faris, below.

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