Jon Othello and Elle Flores

The latest album from West Wickhams is called Magenta, and in a confounding, hard-to-make-sense-of way, it sounds really magenta.

West Wickhams is a psychedelic/dream pop duo based in Surrey, England, but originally from Tresco, The Scilly Isles. Composed of Jon Othello and Elle Flores, this duo’s sound is truly sensational, and classic, provoking modern classics Lea Porcelain, and classic classics Joy Division in their skeletal guitars, guitar-rich arrangements, and soundscapes drenched with reverb. The sound is truly unique and compelling, while summoning to mind more than a few absolute epics.

Magenta is a small, but juicy EP from the duo. Running 14 minutes in length, this release has 5 songs, each a microcosm of ideas and vibes, it was a truly refreshing and bizarre listen, in the most admiring of ways. The indie magic starts with Swear Above Suspicion. The unique riff that immediately draws you in is a capable introduction to the duo’s hypnotic sound. With dry, skeletal guitars, and extremely wet, also skeletal guitars, the guitar arrangements of this track are a breath of fresh, fragrant, colorful air. This Is A Hang Up has a more conventional and intricate guitar work, with the two guitars sounding accessible and pristine and playing the arpeggios in sync and syncopation with one another, as the vocals wail somewhere in the background, covered with a layer or reverb so thick, it makes it impossible to make out any words, while making the whole vocal line sound beautifully ornamental and glistening. Even The Heathers Ask Why sees West Wickhams go alt-punk, with the alien-sounding strummed guitar and the simplistic, clean lead lines, playing deceptively rich melodies, giving the piece an atmosphere that i have seldom experienced before, rich with the charismatic yells that make up the bulk of the vocal delivery. Extremely colorful. Masculin Fémenin Hot Jump has a sweet, accessible composition and some truly out-there singing. A song that turns hypnotic in its last minute, it is perhaps my personal favorite.

Maybe it’s the richness of magenta, or how it always made me feel dizzy with its intensity. This short collection of pieces from West Wickhams ended up positively reminding me of this dense color, and kudos to them for that. A talented duo with a clear, dazzling musical and artistic vision, West Wickhams craft nuanced, and detailed musical landscapes using few moving parts. A joyful, quirky, and memorable listen.

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