In the increasing crowded space of downtempo, trip-hop, and, as we like to call it, post-rock indietronica with bands positioning to be the next Portishead, a little outfit from London has nudged itself to the top of the class. For nearly three years, Dahlia Sleeps have consistently left listeners in a state of cardiac arrest with their music. These experiences would be fleeting, however, as Lucy Hill, Luke Hester, Spencer Buckley, and Callum Sharp focused on releasing singles every few months. That changed earlier this year when released their debut EP, After It All.
The record is a kaleidoscope of not merely sounds but emotions. Opener “Rise” drips with stunning sensuality, yet beneath the gorgeous orchestration lies a powerful message to be proud of who you are. On the multi-dimensional, multi-sensoary “Only You”, Hill’s succinct lines, “You make my bones weak”, perfectly describe the track’s effect. It is a heart-stopping masterpiece. A pulsating yet intimate electro-disco vibe permeates on the scintillating love affair, “Lost & Found”. Solemn mystery, meanwhile, fills the air on “Blackout”. As the terrific piano composition drives the song, Hill’s emotive vocals heighten its beautiful blackness. She longingly sings, “Why does it come to me in the darkness when I’m alone in the night that has taken over me”. Pain drips from each word, as she re-lives the experience of losing someone.
When the band strips everything back to its most basic components, they still find a way to leave one in utter awe. With “Breathe”, simplicity and subtlety rule, yet the minimalist arrangement is astounding. The song and the entire EP encapsulate Dahlia Sleeps’ breathtaking and beautiful experiences. They showcase why this band has earned the right to be crowned as Portishead’s heirs.
After It All is out on Olympia Records.
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