Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Miserable World: A Look At The New Virginia Wing Album

Virginia Wing produced something fascinating and forward-looking previously and so I'm happy to report that the band's new album, Forward Constant Motion, out Friday on Fire Records, is even more of a risk-taker of a record. It's not that 2015's fine LP from this band, Measures of Joy, wasn't nearly perfect for that sort of music but, rather, that this new release is a huge leap forward.

Cuts like "ESP Offline" and "Miserable World" percolate like mid-Nineties Stereolab or Pram singles while also bringing in elements of world music and techno. Alice Merida Richards and Sam Pillay have here taken huge chances in making tunes that are decidedly not directly catchy, and ones which push envelopes in some big ways. The abrasive "Local Loop" offers up an updating on the early template laid down by Cabaret Voltaire, while "Hammer a Nail" is Depeche Mode at their most adventurous, all thought of a big hook thrown out the window. If the bouncy "Grapefruit" is nearly something one could enjoy on the dance-floor, then closer "Future Body" is The Normal's "Warm Leatherette" revamped for a new century. So many of the cuts here tread a similar line between the truly avant-garde and the more mainstream sort of indie so many of us have embraced in the last few decades. At their best here on Forward Constant Motion, Virginia Wing have looked to the peak years of the post-punk boom for inspiration in how to pursue a DIY-sort of new wave while wholeheartedly trying, in some measure, to make things marginally accessible. This is indie pop, after all, even if it's edgy and unsettling at times.

Superbly bold in its thinking, the music of Virginia Wing seems to be of a new genre even as it retains so many familiar elements that listeners such as myself can enjoy. Forward Constant Motion by Virginia Wing is out Friday on Fire Records.

Follow Virginia Wing via the band's official Facebook page.

[Photo: Maisie Cousins and Penny Mills]