Words: Saam Das
There have been plenty of whispers around London for the last six months or so about Arthur Beatrice - playing their own sporadic clubnights while deliberately holding back any studio recordings from making their way onto the internet. But they have now begun to show some of their cards, in good time for their debut single, 'Midland', making its way onto limited 12" vinyl this month.
Their "mysterious" approach is one that I find generally infuriating, although I did enjoy the fact that their website URL is online-presence.info. That's witty to some extent. This charade has been managed since at least March 2010, when their Facebook page was set up - turns out the new shitty Timeline thing has its uses. However, fellow FG writer Jack is a big fan and as with all his tips, this is a band worthy of further investigation.
Paul Lester at The Guardian peeled back the layers to reveal the quartet are made up of Orlando Leopard (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, organ), Ella Girardot (lead vocals, keyboards, organ), Elliot Barnes (drums) and Hamish Barnes (bass). Furious googling suggests they all met at Stowe School in Buckingham, perhaps beginning their combined musical escapades while still in the throes of full-time education. Or perhaps after.
Their music recalls wistful elements of Wild Beasts at times, the haunting minimalism of The xx at others, with shades of the likes of Alt-J and WU LYF (not just in the marketing approach) seeping through. Most impressively, they have a good ear for a compelling pop chorus, just as 'Midland' shows. As debut singles go, they rarely make them this mesmerising. Listen below for a couple of other tracks.
'Midland' is out on the Arthur Beatrice label Open Assembly on vinyl this month. More details on their website.