Brighton, UK-based indie rock band and JOVM mainstays Thyla can trace its origins to when its founding members — Millie Duthie (vocals), Danny Southwell (drums) and Dan Hole (bass) — met while attending college.
While becoming JOVM mainstays, the Brighton-based indie act have helped cement their hometown’s reputation for a music scene with some of England’s hottest emerging acts.The band has played profile rising shows with Dream Wife, Luxury Death, Matt Maltese, Yonaka, Husky Loops, Lazy Day, Sunflower Bean, INHEAVEN and Fickle Friends. And they ere spotlighted alongside Pale Waves, Nilüfer Yanya, and Sorry in NME‘s 100 Essential Acts for 2018.
Thyla’s debut EP, 2019’s What’s On Your Mind was released to critical applause from Pitchfork, Stereogum, NME, The Line of Best Fit and Dork — and the material from the EP received airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, Radio X and KCRW. Adding to a breakthrough year, the Brighton JOVM mainstays opened for Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever, played attention-grabbing sets at The Great Escape, Live At Leeds and Hit The North. They capped the year off with their first national tour, which also included a headlining stop at London’s Electrowerkz.
Last year, Thyla released their sophomore EP Everything at Once. The EP featured he anthemic and ambitious “Two Sense,” and the coming-of-age story “Lenox Hill,” which was arguably the most personal song the band’s Millie Duthie had written to date. After the release of Everything at Once, the rising British act spent the bulk of last year working on their highly-anticipated full-length debut.
Slated for a January 28, 2022 release through Easy Life Records, Thyla’s self-titled full-length debut will feature “Breathe,” an atmospheric yet dance floor friendly banger featuring glistening synth arpeggios, sinuous bass lines, squiggling guitar blasts, stuttering four-on-the-floor, Duthie’s plaintive vocals and an enormous, crowd-pleasing hook. The end result was a song that — to my ears, at least — reminded me of When The Night-era St. Lucia, while being completely of our weird and uncertain moment.
“Gum” the self-titled album’s second and latest single continues a run of rousingly anthemic material but while being a subtle return to form: while glistening synth arpeggios and driving bass lines are still prominent, the song features fuzzy power chords and thunderous drumming and Duthie’s plaintive vocals. The song manages to capture a self-assured young band — young compared to yours truly — with an unerring knack for an enormous, shout-along-with-your-friends worthy hook paired earnest, lived-in songwriting that seems to say to the listener “Don’t worry, we’ve been there, too.”
Thematically, the album — much like their recent work — touches upon how we attach identity and value to ourselves and the sneaking and uneasy feeling that the more we learn, the less we know. And while you may learn more about yourself, everything else gets increasingly complicated and difficult. “Gum is about shrugging the weight of the world off your shoulders – being stuck, knowing it, and choosing not to care,” Thyla’s Millie Duthie explains. “The world is weird; life is confusing. You’re not always going to get what you want, but let’s stop talking about it.
Directed by John Daly, the recently released video for “Gum” features some surreal imagery — notably of the trio seemingly playing an unending game of Tug of War and not getting anywhere, despite being in the English woods.
Gleaning inspiration from everyday human experience – and blurring the lines of the personal and the fictional – Thyla play as voyeurs and interpreters. Their music is a playground for the shared experience, a place for art that doesn’t preach, or claim to have all of the answers. Instead, their work exists as signposts to emotional moments in time, channeling the chaos of modernity into a sanctuary built from balance and nuance, influenced by the disparate worlds of everything from Kate Bush to My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields.
On their debut album the band makes natural a step onward from their earlier EPs, working in a way that removed outside influence. In the same way that their process allowed them to make their own decisions, the resulting album is also about allowing others space to reach their own conclusions. It asks questions, rather than demands answers, and often zeroes in on the world’s polarized state, knowing when confrontation or walking away is the answer. It is also an album of internal monologues made real, punctuated with regular references to the Lewis Carroll tale Alice In Wonderland