Formed back in 2018, the emerging Bangalore, India-based synth pop duo Us and I — Bidisha Kesh (vocals) and Guarav Govilkar (production) — features members who come from very different backgrounds, who bonded over the fact that they share similar musical sensibilities: As the story goes, when they started to work together, Kesh and Govlikar quickly realized that they shared a unique way of crafting songs with deeply personal lyrics paired with the melancholia of the orange and yellow colors leaking from the sounds of their synthesizers.
The duo spent the next two years developing and honing a sound that they believe will act as a bridge between the synth-driven work of Chromatics and the slow-burning, dream pop of Beach House — with subtle nods to darkwave and post-punk. Thematically, the duo’s material generally draws from everyday life and the relationships around them.
As a result of the pandemic, the Bangalore-based duo played a few online, live-at-home livestream sessions. which helped the band gain attention for their debut EP Loveless, which was released earlier this year. Thematically, Loveless focuses on a universal subject, love — in particularly, a past love and how the nostalgia and grief of that past love can hit us like waves. Now, as you may recall, I wrote about Loveless single “Fragile,” deliberately crafted, textured pop centered around glistening synth arpeggios, sinuous bass lines, thumping beats and Kesh’s gorgeous vocals in a song that reminded me quite a bit of Dead Blue-era Still Corners.
The EP’s latest single “First Love” is slow-burning ballad centered around an atmospheric arrangement of twinkling piano, glistening synth arpeggios and Kesh’s achingly plaintive vocals. While sonically “First Love” strikes me as being a bit like Still Corners meets Tales of Us era Goldfrapp, the song as the duo explains is about “the nostalgic longing to be near someone that is distant, or that has bene loved and then lost — ‘the love that remains.'”
Fittingly, the recently released video for “First Love” is nostalgic and brims with an aching and unresolved longing for a time, place, and situation that can’t be recovered. And as a result, ghosts linger and taunt throughout.