Comprised of Margarida Falcão, Ricardo Nagy and Luís Monteiro, the Lisbon, Portugal-based indie pop trio Vaarwell, derives their name from the Dutch word vaarwel, which translates into English as farewell — and since their formation back in 2014, when the members of the band met at a music production class, the up-and-coming trio have received attention in their native Portugal and internationally with the release of their debut EP Love and Forgiveness, which revealed a sound that paired ethereal and delicate melodies with minimalist instrumentation and production. Adding to a growing profile, the trio had been included in 2015’s FNAC Best New Talent Compilation, named Tradiio’s “Artist of the Week,” played at the renowned Portuguese music festival NOS em D’Bandada and more recently commissioned by French designer Philippe Starck to write and record a track for his exhibition at the Groninger Museum during this year’s Eurosonic Nooderslag Festival.
“You,” the achingly melancholy and gorgeous, first single off the Portuguese trio’s forthcoming full-length debut Homebound 456 will further cement their reputation for pairing Falçao’s tender and ethereal melodies with a minimalist production featuring warm and soulful keys with subtle industrial clatter, fluttering electronics and shimmering guitar. And while sonically speaking, the song reminds me of Flourish//Perish-era BRAIDS, the song has a narrator who spends a significant portion of the song self-flagellating herself for getting herself fooled by someone she shouldn’t have, who has hurt her in an egregious fashion — and as a result, the song possesses a visceral sense of confusion, bitter heartbreak and desperate searching.
Featuring production work from the Playground Production Company, the accompanying video further emphasizes the brooding contemplative feel of the song, as the video has the trio sitting in a deserted, late night parking lot while a human-sized teddy bear stalks and stomps around nearby. And as the band’s frontwoman is seemingly focusing on some past event or situation and caught within her own revelry, the teddy bear stomps around — without anyone treating it as out of the ordinary; in fact, even the bandmembers quickly treat it as a feverish figment of the imagination.