Comprised of Trewin Howard (vocals, synths, production), along with Howard’s two childhood friends Jeb Hardwick (guitar) and Ed Sanderson (piano/synths), the Brighton, UK-based founding trio behind Phoria recruited Tim Douglas (bass, synth) and Seryn Burden (drums) to flesh out the band’s sound. And over the past couple of years, the Brighton, UK-based quintet have developed a growing national and international profile for crafting spectral and evocative soundscapes; in fact, 2014’s Display EP landed at #5 on Hype Machine’s charts, received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 and received several million Spotify streams. They also have a burgeoning reputation for their live set which pairs Hardwick’s visual installations and projections with their live sound. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months you may have come across a post or two on the British quartet.
As the band’s primary songwriter Howard has publicly explained that he never really wanted to be a storyteller, and that he ascribes to the concept of saying very little to say a lot. And as as a result, the quintet’s material generally focuses on setting up a particular mood — while simultaneously focusing on a number of different themes. In press notes, Howard has mentioned that the material on Volition thematically touches upon love, sex, mortality, pain, joy, the way people interact, change and move each other and several other things. Earlier this year, I wrote about “Everything Beta,” the first single off the band’s recently released full-length debut Volition, a single that sounds indebted to Amnesiac and King of Limbs-era Radiohead, as Howard’s ethereal and plaintive vocals are paired with clicking and clacking percussion, twinkling piano chords, buzzing synths and a subtly anthemic hook in a song that slowly builds up an unresolved tension before quickly fading out. And while ethereal, the song manages to evoke a desperately aching yearning at its core.
The album’s second and latest single “Loss” continues on a similar vein as “Everything Beta” as Howard’s delicate and yearning falsetto is paired with a sparse and ambient arrangement of twinkling keys, minimalist beats, shimmering synths and a hauntingly beautiful string arrangement to evoke a sense of profound, inconsolable loss in what may arguably be the most gorgeous song the Brighton-based band has released to date.