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Forward Constant Motion
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  • Virginia Wing started life off as a trio, making experimental modern pop with shoegaze and Krautrock influences bubbling to the top. After releasing a promising LP and single, the trio became a duo when their drummer left. The change means something of a drastic change of direction on Forward Constant Motion. Gone are the shoegaze guitars and straightforward rhythms; in their place are inventively programmed drum machines and banks of chilly synthesizers. The album has a markedly more experimental and arty sound that is angular and cold, with Alice Merida Richards' vocals sounding like they were delivered in a container of dry ice and the duo forsaking any moments of layered, warm, Broadcast-inspired pop for something more difficult to embrace instantly. Despite the change in sound, which almost seems designed to keep the listener off guard and at arm's length, there is still a pop heart beating strongly below the sheets of chilled steel, industrial-strength drums, and jagged synths. The duo make sure to slip the occasional catchy melody into the mix; "Grapefruit" has a naggingly catchy vocal hook and the synths are a little more expansive and rich-sounding here than usual, and "Local Loop" is the most danceable song on the record, with rock-solid electro-funk beats, a gunky bassline, and almost sunny vocal harmonies. The less pop-leaning tracks still have enough insistent power, quirky design, and musical craft to make them compelling and unique. Lots of bands attempt to do what Virginia Wing are doing here, replacing the guts of their avant pop with wires and circuits, but not many have the skills and songs to make it work. On Forward Constant Motion, the duo make a leap forward and a little to the left, making for a rewarding, always interesting, and oddly emotionally satisfying album. ~ Tim Sendra
Professional Reviews
Clash (magazine) - "Avant-garde and pop. A harsh record, but also a beautiful -- occasionally even optimistic -- one."
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