Manchester duo Virginia Wing mine the same sort of electro-infused indie that proplled Goldfrapp and Ladytron to wide acclaim. However, on their newest record, the sleek Ecstatic Arrow, out today on Fire Records, the band have tempered their previous risk-taking with a real awareness of how to made material that's both accessible and bravely adventurous. As such, Ecstatic Arrow is clearly the best Virginia Wing release to date.
Virginia Wing -- Alice Merida Richards (vocals, synths, organ) and Samuel Pillay (synths, guitar, noises, bass) -- imbue stuff like "Be Released" with a bright sort of percussive fury, the song harking back to the first flourishing of post-punk some decades ago, even as "Glorious Idea" charts similar territory in a slightly more accessible fashion. Elsewhere, on slower numbers like "For Every Window There's A Curtain", the duo seem to be lining up next to forebears like Stereolab and Broadcast, Alice's vocals purring with precision next to Pillay's synths. The effect is a stately, Art-with-a-capital-"A"-kind of thing, even as there's not any real pretension here. One can, on this one and others like the smart "Seasons Reversed", trace a line back to those early Ladytron records, Richard's icy vocals imbuing this with a seriousness that is infectious.
Filled with the sort of music we'd once have called Art Rock, Ecstatic Arrow certainly owes debts to previous artists like Toyah, or The Human League, even as it refines the approach of this Manchester-London duo. What's here on Ecstatic Arrow is largely seamless electronica of the sort that should appeal to fans of everything from Black Box Recorder to Anne Clark.
Ecstatic Arrow is out today via Fire Records.
[Photo: Uncredited Bandcamp pic]