BOOT LOCAL VOL 4: Introducing Ivan Moon, the return of Beija Flo and the debut album from Larkins!
Manchester's Post-Punk wordsmith Ivan Moon arrived onto the scene earlier this year with his debut single 'Cellophane'. The track established his dense and fuzzy tone and lent on a bass line that evoked sounds of Joy Division and the Skater Surf scene. He is now back with his next single 'Leeches' and it has taught us a lot more about what he is capable of and what we can expect from him as an artist.
The new release dips its toe more into the electronic water with a really nicely layered backing beat and a host of subtle textural elements that fluctuate throughout the verses. It is a more built up and less intimate number than his previous single, however it still delivers the same distorted vocal phrasings that are reminiscent of Talkshow's new track 'Underworld' (which you can check out in our Post Punk feature) as well as some of Jamie T's more recent tracks like 'Police Tapes'. In fact 'Leeches' bares quite a few similarities to Jamie T with his tightly packed blend of electronic textures and a half-rapped Indie vocal delivered with a Punk spirit. With the arrogance and up tempo energy you can just picture this going down perfectly in a small sweaty underground club. Although his first release set up the stage nicely, 'Leeches' has given us a lot more to work with. It is more direct, more energetic and, thanks to the Kasabian esc Indie chants that enter the background of the later stages, it has a new singable quality that makes the fuzzed up Indie Punk energy even more infectious.
Scouse singer-songwriter Beija Flo is an artist in every sense of the word. She is always open and expressive with a genuine passion, and perhaps need, to communicate through artistic means and is she is never confined to the musical world. Her Instagram is littered with poetic scrawlings and snapshots of her covered in bright clothes and face paints that reflect her persona. She began penning some of her refreshingly unfiltered lyricisms to music, releasing sporadic singles between 2017 and 2019. Yet, we have not heard new music from her since before COVID-19...and that's saying something! That is, until now. She has finally returned with a brand new single 'Heads or Tails'.
The track captures her wild expressive personality more than ever! Although the new release is still wrapped up in many of the same values as her old work, it is ventures down a whole new sonic avenue. It is brighter, angstier and more hectic with its relentless entanglement of a variety of instrumentals. The tight funky drum beat is just one part of the mass of percussion that consistently layer on top of each other to create an audible sense of frantic internal thoughts. Her vocals have more of a Punky drawl to them than usual. They are sometimes erratic but always have a mean swagger that adds to the frenzy of noise. There is no memorable hook to speak off as it is a short and direct barrage of constantly changing sounds that almost loop round from start to finish so that the song can be left playing over and over and get its buzzing groove firmly stuck in your brain. The intentions are palpable - she is announcing her return in style and we just hope that she means to go on as she has started. This is her most bold and exciting offering to date and we can't wait for more!
After a long anticipated wait, one of Manchester's most exciting new artists Larkins have released their debut album 'JCOY' after 6 years. It may be just 8 tracks long yet it still manages to create a memorable, heartfelt journey as it passes seamlessly from banger to ballad. It begins with the retro Indie Pop anthem 'Are We Having Any Fun Yet?'. With its huge stadium drum sounds and chorus of backing vocals lending their voices to the title line it is reminiscent of The 1975's best moments and sets up the record beautifully, almost asking listeners if they are ready to have fun in the next 25 minutes. You would think then that following track would be the most upbeat and euphoric of the lot. Well, not quite... the piano led, heartfelt single 'Digital Love' arrives and sends an early cold shiver down your spine. The stripped back instrumentals give the vocals a chance to soar and create the emotional impact that the band seem to love. The choice to put this track second is a clever one as it puts more meaning on the question in the first track. The opener sets you up for Electro Pop joy but then gives you the most honest and emotionally powerful song on the album. This then begs the question, 'Are we having any fun yet?' once again and shows that this album isnt just a flurry of fun catchy singles. It is a broad musical reflection of the times we are going through right now and right now pretty much nothing is emotionally predictable and Larkins have gone out of there way to be truthful to real life and reflect this.
This is not to say that the album doesn't contain moments of euphoria that are perfect for dancing. 'This Is Gonna Hurt' opens with a quite a strange but incredibly catchy clicking synth melody while pre-chorus has a vocal flow that plays off the tightly rolling keyboard buzz and begs to be sang to. The track then opens up into an expansive chorus as the opening melody re-enters with a super charged feel as the line 'You turn me on but we both know this is gonna hurt' is sung out with a really funky and powerful electronic twist. The album's ender 'over it' is surprisingly energetic too. It actually packs a popping beat and American vocal twang that bear a slight resemblance to some of the US alternative rappers like MGK. On the whole record is an emotive one. It captures honest feelings and wraps them up in subtle Electro Pop melodies that land so smoothly on the ear. 'JCOY' has definitely established Larkins as one of the biggest new names in the North-West.
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