Energizing something of a revival in 90’s trip-hop blended with 80’s synth atmospherics is ARLS – New Zealand-based duo Bravo Bonez and Alba Rose. Enlisting legendary producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers; Super Furry Animals; The Chills) to produce a debut single which looks already to be figuring amongst the years best new tracks. The bizarre collaboration between university student Alba and perpetual planet-traveller Bravo, found the pair hit it off musically following a ‘coffee date’ pushed for by their respective mums, from which they stayed in touch and arrived where they are now.
Front and centre of ARLS is Alba Rose, a vocalist whose gift for melody and imbuing a track with emotion belies the fact that she is still studying at university. Bravo Bonez travels the Earth constantly and is the enigma of the band. As composer and arranger, he hides a wealth of music experience behind his shades, bringing the darker elements of the 90’s trip-hop scene along with the ethereal splendour of Cocteau Twins at their peak. The perhaps unlikely union is entirely in keeping with the bizarre genesis of debut single: LUCKY. A throwaway hummed vocal sent as a voice memo by Alba to Bravo became an earworm neither of them could shake.
Aligning themselves with a mysterious atmospheric essence, akin to that of Massive Attack, LUCKY’s lyrics are grounded in reality and tell of wrenching yourself from an unfulfilling relationship, reminding yourself you’re strong enough to emerge from the pain whilst delivering a sideswipe at the person they’re leaving, that they were lucky to have what they’ve lost.
Throughout the track, there is a sense that vocals are announced with a degree of pain, a lack of belief in her words, but also a belief that it’s not worth continuing this dead end if the result is that of it ultimately draining her.
LUCKY is due for release 1st August this year