Virginia Wing’s second LP ‘Forward Constant Motion’ sees the band deviate towards a more expansive, focused sound but still retains some of the cosmic darkness of debut LP ‘Measures of Joy’. Still showing signs of a propensity for dreamlike, otherworldly themes, this record melds a successful hybrid of the sleepy new age of Laurie Anderson and Homework-era Daft Punk, resulting in a bold and imaginative contemporary pop record. Includes a digital download card.
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Virginia Wing’s previous album ‘Measures of Joy’ was a record we enjoyed so much that Brian actually personally promised to refund your postage if you didn’t like it. ‘Forward Constant Motion’ lives up to its name by dismantling their old sound and creating a whole new one with mixed results. Many of these tracks are examples of bold future thinking ideas looking for songs as the band weld Alice Richards sweet Trish Keenan-like voice uncomfortably onto a series of propulsive electronica.
There are reasons for this change of direction, they lost a member before the album was recorded and the band shifted from a trio to a duo. This has led them to ditch the previous ‘band’ aesthetic and become more of an electronica two piece. The world is currently littered with synth two pieces so it’s a shame that Virginia Wing have lost their originality to join a rather crowded marketplace. Taking the drums away from such a recipe makes a huge difference and ‘Forward Constant Motion’ lacks the kraut groove of before and the changes in tempo that a living beat maker can provide.
Taken on it’s own terms ‘Forward Constant Motion’ has moments of enjoyable inspiration. Richards' voice is a constant delight if you are a fan of Keenan and Laetitia Sadier and their new sound is most impressive on chirpy pop such as ‘Grapefruit’ which has a remarkable melodic similarity to Strawberry Switchblade’s ’Since Yesterday’. If this song is full of ‘80s bloops and bleeps, ‘Andalucia’ has a more bouncy techno backing and the juxtaposition between this and the downcast vocals is an interesting contrast. If Virginia Wing are guilty of anything it’s making the record too modern. On Broadcast’s third album ‘Tender Buttons’ they used the lack of drummer to their advantage by minimising their sound and using vintage instruments to bring out a kind of retro sadness. Whilst Broadcast used the loss of a member to declutter, Virginia Wing have here cluttered their sound too much so that songs are somewhat lost in a mass of albeit impressive modernist synth programming.
9/10 Bernie Customer review, 20th November 2016
Clinton's review had me a little worried about Forward Constant Motion, but honestly, I think it's phenomenal--a huge leap in quality from Virginia Wing's already excellent debut LP. The production is consistently excellent and experimental. It's dense without feeling overstuffed, providing enough minimally arranged moments to give the record room to breathe. As mentioned above, the vocals are consistently incredible, and the songs feel like intricate mechanical devices built to whirr around them. Even the instrumental portions that might best be described as interludes are strange and engaging. The band might be another synth duo at this point, but they are one with a fairly singular, off-kilter, unceasingly odd sound, and some great songs to back it up. Devotees of Broadcast hoping that Virginia Wing would continue to dwell in their shadow might be put off by the band's new direction, but there are still a million groups that sound like Broadcast for them to listen to, anyway, so insert shrug emoji here.
I love this record.
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