The first track I heard from this EP was “Doubt”, and it quite quickly set itself apart in my mind with one thing – the inspired use of the Amen Break. It’s the last thing you’d expect to hear in an unabashedly pop-orientated girl group, but it’s already enough to set them apart from many other similar bands that all seem to be cut from the same cloth. Avaberée won’t shy too far from the familiar or from what works, but there’s a still the desire to do something interesting and fresh. And that’s something I can get behind. On further listening, it’s quite clearly a standout, and offers one of the catchiest and most direct hooks of the whole EP.
That’s a thread that continues through the rest of the EP. The production resists the easy route of slick and glossy arrangements, instead relying on economical and gritty beats, with “Can’t Get You Off My Mind” maintaining the kind of edge that feels more Ice Cube than Aaliyah. Soulful vocal harmonies in the vein of TLC and Destiny’s Child do the heavy lifting, giving us something that could’ve been uninspired but comfortably steers clear of any retreads.
That’s the most important thing here. There’s an appreciation for the glory days of 90s R&B and old school 70s funk, and layered vocals reminiscent of 60s vocal groups. These elements all hold a strong influence over the proceedings, but this record still avoids living in the past. There are enough modern touches, many which evoke the 80s synth-laden sound of many contemporary pop records. It’s easy to see where that comes from, the EP’s production being done by Tommy English, who has previously done work for Ladyhawke and Borns.
For a band that’s just getting off the ground, they’ve already managed a remarkably confident and well-articulated sound. There’s a predilection for conventional pop writing, but a refusal to do anything that’s too predictable – a desire to push the boundaries a little, and a healthy respect for some true creativity. This is a pop record that’s indie and old school, and one that recognises the virtues of all those contrasting sensibilities. There’s something for everyone in here, and it’s definitely worth the price of admission just for “Doubt” alone.
Hometown: Brisbane, Australia
Latest release: In Your Arms I Found My Secrets, released August 28, 2015.
Sounds like: Au Revoir Simone, La Roux, TLC
Say what? Sought to use a minimalistic a track as possible for “Lover of Mine”, to the extent that it ultimately came down to three instruments – vocals, vocal beats, and a bass synthesizer.
Over and out, Darren