Needle Drop: AmatrArt, “Mirror/Soft Skin”

AmatrArt (pronounced “amateur art”) are a 5-piece band out of Glasgow, Scotland who produce music which is anything but amateurish. (I’m so sorry for that.) Their double a-side single “Mirror/Soft Skin” is an incredibly mature (sorry, I’ll stop) couple of tracks which show of display beautiful intertwining melodies and killer choruses.

“Mirror,” which premiered on Vic Galloway’s New Music Show on BBC Scotland, opens with a low throbbing synth sound sweeping in and out around a palm muted guitar line, before vocalist Jonathan Mullen enters, his voice almost lazily sliding between notes creating a really nice meandering effect.

A great build toward the chorus with the repeated line “Where did I go wrong?” ups the ante before everything drops and a fantastic guitar riff from Josh McGeechan cuts through, driving the chorus forward while some falsetto “ooohs” float over the top. However the real highlight of the song, again coming from McGeechan’s guitar, is a raucous guitar solo which writhes and thrashes almost chaotically around (very Johnny Greenwood) before seamlessly dropping back into a final chorus. The whole song is over 5 minutes but it races by before you’ve even realised.

Not that I want to be too gushy, but somehow that is outdone by “Soft Skin.” A track which goes very Wild Beasts with its slightly odd syncopated rhythm and fragile high vocals underpinned by a strong steady verse/riff which establishes a sort of rocking feel (like a boat rocking back and forth—not in the Def Leppard sort of rocking) to the song.

This becomes even more exaggerated during the powerful chorus where the entire band join in with some low choral vocals around just the word “grace.” Real “hairs on your arms” stuff. Toward the end of the song an almost moaning guitar produces a haunting feel as the drums change into a series of crashing cymbals before everything drops away again to a simple outro.

(*Hits repeat.)

“Mirror/Soft Skin” is out 8th April 2016 via Bloc+ Music.

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