EP Review: ‘Beautiful, Bittersweet’ by The Navettes

EP Review: ‘Beautiful, Bittersweet’ by The Navettes

Manchester based upstarts The Navettes are announcing themselves with a fresh yet nostalgic feel on their debut EP ‘Beautiful, Bittersweet’.

With more established bands such as Pale Waves and Blossoms already sampling that signature 80’s synth pop, the retro feel has become very relevant in the modern Indie scene.

And The Navettes do something rather impressive with this EP, slotting themselves in immediately with these bigger names by showcasing thoughtful songwriting and tight production.

Following their previous singles ‘Gorgeous’ (2017) and ‘Slow’ (2018), the sounds and themes on this new release continue a flow that really cements an identity for the band. Everything right down to the artwork, a pastel mood-board of polaroids and neon, come together here to build a strong aesthetic which puts them miles ahead of the game on just their first EP.

The simple lyrics depicting tales of love and loss are relatable and build a narrative throughout the three tracks. From ‘Asleep’ and its ode to new love, to ‘What about Paris?’ which focuses on the break down of a relationship.

It’s evident that the band have curated these three songs particularly well and the storyline really adds to the listening experience.

‘Asleep’ optimistically starts things off with a gentle naiveté: “We were talking all night and dancing in the street”. It has a charming pop melody, with lyrics that convey the excitement of getting to know someone, portraying that subtle infatuation at the start of a relationship.

‘Forever/Always’ is fit for a movie soundtrack, that scene where the girl gets the guy at the school dance after years of going unnoticed. The vocals are sweet and lilting and the lyrics come across like the pages of a teenage girl’s journal: “I wanna love you forever, always”.

The closing chapter to the ‘Beautiful, Bittersweet’ story is an epic one, coming in at almost five minutes, it’s structurally diverse and stands as a testament to The Navettes as musicians. ‘What about Paris?’ Breaks from the stereotypical pop formula of the previous tracks, beginning with a haunting acappella vocal introduction and cascading through serious guitar breaks and softer builds.

It plays with the depths of the instrumental backdrop as if to sonically display the emotional processing of the break down of a relationship while keeping an underlying energetic lift with the continued use of synths.

The feel good nature of the three tracks paired with The Navettes’ already reputable energetic live presence would go down a treat with a crowd at a festival. Judging from the backing they’ve already had from BBC Introducing, and the sets they’ve already played at some of Manchester’s most loved music venues, their steady growth and recognition are sure to set them up on many more stages over the coming years.

Hopefully they’ll be announcing a Newcastle show soon, I can’t wait to dance about to these tracks live.

Words: Nikki Robson

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