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The Desert – Photo Credit: Ania Shrimpton
The Big Takeover is thrilled to host the exclusive premiere of The Desert’s new EP, Winning You Back, which releases today (March 8th) via Funnel Music.
The Desert was formed in Bristol, England by Gina Leonard and Tom Fryer. The atmospheric, cinematic, downtempo outfit’s dark melodics and brooding vocals shine through on the four fresh tracks of the EP, and arrives ahead of the band’s inaugural performance at SXSW.
Winning You Back follows up The Desert’s 2017 acclaimed debut EP, Play Dead. The subdued, but mesmerizing songs on the band’s latest EP are journeys through an uncertain mind filled with conflicting emotions. Beguiling lead single, “Gone” appeared last fall and travels through feelings of desperation before ultimately radiating a positive aura.
The band explain that, “Gone” is about losing something or someone abruptly and how that can make you go a bit crazy. Gina’s voice is quite hoarse in the recording, which helps convey the desperation and frustration.[However, the] track is overall more positive than negative…”
Recent single “Bitterness” typifies The Desert’s expert blend of haunting, somber vocals paired with warm synths and textures, resulting in an overall feeling of hope and reconciliation, despite some of the more serious lyrical subject matters.
Speaking about “Bitterness”, lead singer and songwriter Gina Leonard describes the song as being, “about coming to terms with being screwed over and accepting it and moving forward because it won’t do any good to stew in bitterness. I had written some angry songs, but they didn’t sit right and didn’t have a good message, so I was happy when this one came out.”
Elsewhere on the record, trip-hop/piano ballad hybrid “Distract Me” recalls Nick Cave’s more melancholy work, paired with electronics that nod to creative producers such as Burial and Murlo, while remaining downtempo in style.
The torch song title track melds slow beats, fluttering percussion, synths diffusion, acoustic guitar lines, and piano notes. It’s a captivating mix of instrumentation that is capped off with Gina Leonard’s velvety, warm, yet crestfallen vocals.
Overall this is a band that takes influence from the greats of their genres (for example, Portishead, Little Dragon, Sade, Tracey Thorne), while also looking towards a bright future.
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