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 is slated for release later this month. Thematically, the EP’s material focuses on love — in particular a past love and how the nostalgia and grief of that love hits us like waves.
Loveless‘ fist single, “Fragile” is a perfect example of what listeners should expect from the Indian duo’s debut EP: deliberately crafted, textured pop centered around glistening synth arpeggios, sinuous bass lines, thumping beats and Kesh’s gorgeous vocals paired with the duo’s uncanny ability to craft a razor sharp hook. And while the duo claim Beach House and Chromatics as influences, “Fragile” sonically — to my ears, at least — reminds me of a bit of Dead Blue-era Still Corners. That shouldn’t be surprising as the material possess a similar aching nostalgia.
“While searching for a notebook one afternoon, you suddenly chanced upon that piece of memory you once shared with the love of your life. The erstwhile bittersweet memory which you had comfortably kept away all these years rushed back like a huge surf wave. Curled in a world of fragility, you hold on to it, reliving what is gone,” the duo say of the song and themes in press notes.