Big Dada – 2020

PVA are the next group to finally release their debut piece in what I like to call the ‘Windmill Brixton’ generation. Following on from the likes of Shame, Black Midi, Fontaines D.C. and Goat Girl to name just a few that have garnered attention thanks to The Windmill pub in Brixton giving them a space to showcase their individual new and exciting avenues of music in a live setting. And PVA are perhaps one the best examples of this outpouring of fantastic live acts, fusing elements of techno and house music with grinding and funky guitar riffs, described often as LCD Soundsystem at the rave. In support of raising funds to help keep The Windmill open PVA contributed a live recording of “Project Bunker” that really needs a studio recording soon enough. Before this EP the only fully released single was “Divine Intervention”, released on the ever prolific Speedy Wunderground, they certainly are the label to be on right now.

Now they have finally shared their debut EP, featuring three original songs and three remixes from Mura Masa, Lynks and Girl Band. Opener “Talks” is a funk infused party bop with a hypnotic groove and some potent synthesisers. Feeling almost like a remix in itself as the 70’s sounding synthesisers burst in and out of the mix, the instrumentation is simultaneously fresh and nostalgic. And it also features some hypnotic vocal deliveries from both vocalists Josh Baxter and Ella Harris, with Harris’ almost spoken dead pan delivery oozing in unformidable coolness. These carry over into “Sleek Form”, which sounds almost like a seduction at the club boiled down into a 5 minute techno anxiety infuser. Jarring synthesiser melodies and drum beats aplenty.

The standout track of this EP comes undoubtedly in the form of “Exhaust/ Surroundings”. Do not underestimate this song from its simple beginning. It’s quite the journey. Moving from glistening synth pop, to heavy techno beats and to straight out euphoria, there’s certainly no predicting where this track will take you next. The interjections of blissful synthesisers as the guitars try and breakout of the mix bask in the sensation of momentary hope, only to drag you back into the unease. It’s these fusions of ideas and movements within a song that allow PVA to not sit within one genre. Some might call them dance, or electronic or indie as sure those elements are there, but it would be unfair to their expansive creative notions to categorise them under such generic tags.

The remixes offer a new side of the PVA sound, and just how much you can do with what they give. The Mura Masa remix of “Talks” feels like it’s ready to explode at any moment with the overly distorted drums just bursting to break out of the mix. A showcase of the subtle, downplaying the sound to its smallest form, allowing each element to ring out in full depth. Whilst the Lynks remix amplifies everything to its maximum, becoming an almost completely unrecognisable song as the melody is shifted to sound like a mid-2000’s Rihanna chart topper. The only miss with the remixes is the Girl Band/ Daniel Fox remix of “Exhaust/ Surroundings” that never seems to find where it’s going, only really amplifying certain elements at points and spends nearly two and a half minutes of the outro repeating the exact same melody, only occasionally throwing delay swirls or drum breaks.

Labelled as “The party band we’ve all been waiting for“, PVA have assuredly earned themselves this label now delivering one of the most exciting and structurally challenging EP’s out there in the indie/ electronic/ techno/ whatever style the choose to fuse in next scene. From establishing themselves as a revered live act, they’ve now made their first mark in what is sure to be a bright and groove filled career in the world of recorded music.

2 thoughts on “PVA – Toner EP Review

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