4 out of 5 stars
Will, Sam, Jon and Nick – better known as Hackney-based indie-poppers Flyte – have just landed back in London, having spent the last five weeks recording their debut album in Australia. The album may not have landed yet, but they have just graced us with their second single of the year – ‘Victoria Falls’.
For those unfamiliar with Flyte, a quick glance at their short history is bound to leave an impression. The boys first met by chance in 2013, when Will, Jon and Nick spotted Sam busking at a Tube station. The band quickly hit the big-time when their first recording effort, a live EP, earned them airtime on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show. 2014 brought even more success, including a well-received debut single, “We Are The Rain”. Tours with Bombay Bicycle Club, a spot at the Reading Festival, and a record deal followed. Hype certainly seems to be building.
Most bands tend to wait until difficult-second-album syndrome hits before they start thinking about changes in musical direction. Flyte seem to have got over that hill very quickly, moving into slightly mellower and more thoughtful territory with their latest offering, ‘Victoria Falls’, and ‘Echoes’, the single they released in January. The more grown-up sound suits them, too, and they seem to be gradually carving out a niche for their brand of intelligent pop. Comparisons have even been made to the Talking Heads. High praise indeed.
With that eminent company in mind, ‘Victoria Falls’ features a cleverly troubling mix – a light, summery melody topped off with surprisingly melancholy lyrics: “She sinks into your sofa / Like a stone. / When Victoria falls / No one knows / How low she goes.” Of course, melancholy is not the only way to be clever and interesting, as the Talking Heads well knew, but the experiment works well here. If anything, the piquant lyrics deserve a little more room to breathe, as there is a slight risk of them getting lost.
The lyrics are not the only thing to like about the single. The guitar riff is sure to end up rattling around your head, and the boys certainly aren’t afraid to use a dollop of synth in the right places. They have the right idea, too, when it comes to keeping things upbeat. Indeed, ‘Victoria Falls’ is stronger in this regard than ‘Echoes’; at times, the latter veers dangerously close to self-indulgence.
All in all, though, there’s much for Flyte to be proud of. If they’re bringing back an album as strong as this in their hand luggage, they can expect more success in future.
(Top image credit: Flyte/Facebook)