A while ago (in September, really is it that long ago, time flies) I reviewed the title song from this EP – ‘Delete Us Forever’. This changed my mind about the band, I fell for it big time. So I was looking forward to reviewing this EP.
Title track ‘Delete Us Forever’ is in essence alt-synthy sounding pop with an 80s’ feel. I could leave it there but I’m kinda missing out the good bits. A lovely sometimes breathy, sometimes angelic, vocal from Kiera – her voice is quite quite fantastic, guitar that rips from Harry, a beat that just MAKES you get up and shake your thing. But wait there is more – yes, more of that good stuff. This song does the dropout thing – breathier vocals over a synth wash and a pulse that is to die for. The first time this happens it’s a tease (and I love a musical tease) for the second that drops out further and then the guitar rips in. And then in the build at the end the drums positively pound, in a strangely rock way that is so so yummy.
I’m going to describe ‘Affections’ as indie-pop; it has that bouncy bright feel to it. But as I’ve discovered Ava in the Dark add their own thing, that twist of the unexpected. You know how indie-pop songs do that drop-out bit where it gets all sparse, well in the case of this that drop-out section is so-so dreamy and atmospheric. Whether this is going to make sense to you I don’t know but Keira sings in a way that’d I’d kind of expect in a big synth-pop track. And I detect something of an 80s’ synth-pop sound in there. So it’s this fantastic mix of things that keeps you guessing the whole way through – as it shifts in feel, in tempo. And that’s a lovely thing. And there’s another lovely thing and that’s that it has the most earwormy tune
Listening to ‘Still’ all you hear is Keira’s voice – it’s angelic, it’s ethereal, it’s pure. It ‘s quiet one moment, and full of constrained power the next. It’s mesmerising, entrancing and beautiful. There is of course more than that voice but it’s sparse – a beat, clever and subtle sweeps of synth. And does this build, of course it does. It builds but fantastically not to the point it could, there’s restraint – that voice builds, the music builds but avoiding that huge swell you might expect makes it all the more powerful, all the more beautiful.
‘Bad Friends’ is pop, huge pop, pop with craft and skill. It’s dreamy. It’s somewhat dubby. It has a tune to fall in love with, to die for. It’s layers of wonderful sounds. A voice that is breathy one moment, dreamy the next. It wraps you in its velvety sound. It’s full of these unexpected sounds. It’s just too lovely for words. You must listen to it, that’s all there is to it.
The songs on this EP are different, but they all have that Ava in the Dark feel, something that says they are by the same band..I, and hope you do too, love a band that has depth, that can do different things. And nothing is just slapped down; it’s thoughtfully put together. Each sound is there for a reason, Keira’s voice is just right for each song – she has a voice I could listen to all day.
Part of what makes this quite so special is that it mixes old school with the up to date – they take the best of old school and the best of now and turn that into their thing, their sound. That’s part of it, the other part of it is that these are songs with emotion, with feeling.
There is a problem with describing music as any sort of pop, it might imply some sort of throwaway music that you’re mad about one week and the next week move on to something else. This isn’t that; it’s pop that is made with care, made with skill. It’s music that is beautiful, music that you’ll keep forever, it’s so good it hurts.
A mix of soundscapes from indie dream-pop, to minimal house, electropop to alt-rock. ‘Delete Us Forever’, Ava in the Dark’s debut EP is a glimpse into the soul of lead-singer, Kiera. It’s about mental health in adolescence, people-pleasing, social pressures and self-love, presented in a nostalgic era-bound frame, sometimes ironically.
Ava in the Dark are from Leeds and are
Vocalist/Producer: Kiera Bickerstaff
Bassist/Producer: Tommie James
Drums: Thom Oliver
Guitar: Harry Walters