Changes can take time and Virginia Wing have slowly been morphing from a Broadcast-like psych pop band into something much more psychedelic and esoteric. Hints of greatness were found on their previous 'Measures of Joy' album but 'Ecstatic Arrow' should see the full hatching of the new band. Last year's collaboration with XAM Duo was excellent so we have high hopes for this.
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I dunno if you know, but it’s pretty hard to do what Virginia Wing do. Maybe it sounds like it, sometimes, and maybe at others it doesn’t: in that conflict is the charm of their sound, as widescreen and blissed out as it is tinkered on a whim in someone’s bedroom. On “Be Released”, the intro to their new record ‘Ecstatic Arrow’, they embrace the most ramshackle elements of their sound -- awkward melodies and heavy-handed drumwork -- to reach the highest of their heights, offering the kind of maximum energy indie pop once mastered by bands like A Sunny Day In Glasgow. It is proof both of their loveable humanity and their extra-terrestrial potential, and I love it.
There’s a rawness to ‘Ecstatic Arrow’ that makes it unlike the music surrounding it: you could call it psychedelic and dreamy, on another day, in another review -- here, they sound like a band you can hear in the studio or at work on their DIY tools, the vocals hummed with plainspoken earthiness, the synths played so you can hear each finger attacking each key. On “The Second Shift”, their miasmic bluster of saxophone and shimmering backdrop synthlines only suggests the blue sky behind them; in the fore is a rock band on an absolute rock thing. Between these two different Virgina Wings you’ve got the best kind of adventure: one that’s on the same level as you, and taking you with it.
On ‘Ecstatic Arrow’, Virgina Wing also sound as excited as they’ve ever been, uninhibited and taking off: “Glorious Idea” is one of the most insatiable tunes they’ve ever made, its perpetual percussive hook keeping the band on track like a propeller rushing through the sea. It’s Factory Floor gone on holiday. “For Every Window There’s A Curtain” sees them make a song out of gloopy vocal patches, broken strands of percussion and airy, high-octave sax, turning ballad into behemoth. Each of these songs feels like proof of Virginia Wing's most undeniable strengths, proof they can hit close to home from from beyond the clouds.
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