Making their return with dreamy vibes and an easy-going listen perfect for summer evenings, Isle of Wight quartet As We Leave will release their second EP ‘Stop Making Plans’ on Abbey Records on 24th June.
After unleashing their debut EP Everything to a Point in 2020, the four-piece band soaked in acclaim for their well-crafted songs that reflect the melancholic, easy-going nature of its native members. From gentle and pleasing melodies to precise phrases and hooks, the songs continue the band’s exploration of the sonic palette with a new sense of vigour.
Serving as the initial glimpse into their second offering, lead single ‘Rarely Been So Long’ has received praise for its calming feel and juxtaposing lyrics, which tease the listener into replaying the song to really understand the lyrical approach and how it fits into the song.
‘“Rarely Been So Long” is a playful tongue in cheek nod to cynicism and comic disillusionment,’ says the band. ‘We wanted the song to conjure up elements of Bulgakov’s absurdities but instead of the paranoia of Stalin’s 30’s era Moscow, we have the less dangerous panorama of a backwards Victorian island, stuck in limbo….’
Once again, As We Leave have adopted the very rustic and nonchalant ‘do it yourself’ posture of the first EP, suggesting they are comfortable in home surroundings and a much more relaxed approach to their creativity. As with the previous EP, the band set out to write, produce and record all the material themselves.
More evidence of the band’s clear understated talent for writing and arrangements arranging is in evidence on ‘What We Become’. What sounds initially like a crowd-pleasing ode to cynicism, eventually turns into a mature reflection on learning for yourself, the rewards of such a lesson and the consequences if you don't. A clear thirst for knowledge and first-hand experience has played a dominant role in its formation; with a subtle nod to the lyrical ballast so often found in many Springsteen compositions, ‘What We Become’ just happens to be the lightest tune on the record despite its weighty subject matter.
‘No Atlas’ is an autobiographical lullaby. The melody feels like it wouldn't be out of place in a child's sleeping mobile and there should be illuminated stars on the ceiling. It starts sparsely, softly, with gentle vocals and finishes with complex musical textures and guitars swimming in reverb. The song is a true accomplishment of carefully thought parts arranged just so.
Finally, ‘Wood For The Trees’ sees the band embrace more electronica and programmed elements into their music. Carefully cultivated with quietly wistful vocals, it is the perfect sleepy ending to the EP. Along with the sublimely beautiful ending guitar lines, the song gives the EP the contemplative climax it so deserves.
Overall, it's a delicate and accomplished record that will no doubt delight listeners, a clear sign of the band’s appreciation and respect of the art and impact of song in the modern age. This EP builds harmoniously on the band’s existing body of work, continuing to engage in and embrace the changing musical landscapes they inhabit.