Arliston formed in 2018 in a studio under a motorway. This trio consisting of Jack Ratcliffe, George Hasbury and Jordi Bosch are described as a band that creates “beautifully textured music to soundtrack any thoughtful moment” and have been described by CLASH magazine as “beguiling experimental pop“.
Sonically Arliston are a project that since its genesis has released a dozen of songs that mix pop and indie rock in an always sentimental way. “The Ground Might Disappear” is their second EP, and an album that was set to be released for some time, but that is also a natural result of the hard times we have all been through in the last couple of years.
“Being able to channel all the uncertainty of the year into the project was such a relief. Although, it felt a little like being back on Brighton Pier playing Whack-a-mole: new worries just kept popping up!”
One of the greatest differences between their sonority from the first EP to now is the production of Bo Morgan in a process the band itself honestly states as challenging but also contributing to the whole sonority we can find in the EP:
“We’d always tried to produce ourselves before. And this EP was the first time we’d ever worked with an external producer. It was a TOTALLY different experience. Suddenly we were having to justify why certain parts should be allowed to stay in the song – things that we would have let slide before were put under a microscope – it was frustrating sometimes, but we love the results.“
If we all agree lockdown or the uncertainty of 2021 was horrible, we (WtMM) feel there are some beautiful things that were born from it that will definitely mark us for many years. We can state that Arliston‘s second EP “The Ground Might Disappear“, is one of those things.
In what reminds us of Bon Iver‘s power in their songs, “Centre” starts with all the power that we now feel characterizes Arliston: a distilling gorgeous piano and a haunting beautiful voice. It’s not much until the first minute that we understand the sort of mystical variations Arliston offer in their debut EP opening track.
We can hear an evergrowing piano in the back with subtle variations and very small but strategic mute moments. And we hear a lot of elements that feel minimalist in what is a complex network of subtle synth, guitar and drum elements. On top of everything, there is a powerful voice that seems to command this army of organic elements. The track ends gentle and delicate, offering bunches and bunches of vulnerability that will be presented several times in the following tracks.
“Mountaineer“ is perhaps the most incredible vocal performance of the whole EP. Once again we can’t help to compare it to Justin Vernon‘s kind of phenomenal vocal performances. The track elements are composed in the form of a story-telling that turns more and more vivid as we progress into it. Once again there is a gorgeous web of elements that feel always growing. “I’m fixing everything I can, I haven’t seen your head this long” the lyrics hook us as much as they can with emotion and delicacy.
There is a buzz that comes and goes, and a vocal performance that goes from a falsetto to a deep haunting register. The track simply does not stop bombarding the listener with elements like a growing plant in the peak of the Spring. Until it ends on a gorgeous “uuuh” stretch that makes every hair on our bodies stand up.
With a distinct beat from the previous tracks, “Camomile” starts more relaxed – almost funky – until it grows, before the first minute, to a great pop sonority. The word “Camomile” is placed several times intercalated with a set of promises like they are on the verge of a window courting this someone. There is a gentle reminder of acts like Bears Den in the type of sonority that Arliston accomplishes in this track.
The variations that you are expecting as a listener are not always there, and that seems to be, by the third track of the EP, a nice touch of their sonority. In this particular track, that happens twice, right around the middle when the cadence goes down and comes back up with an ’80s-infused vibe heavily based on the drum power, and how it combines so well with the deep vocal elements. And once again around the end of the track. In between, we feel every single word that sings the need to “hold on”. And we do. We truly do hold on.
A big huge drum void. Is what “Park” sounds when it starts. The honest voice says “I was a failure” and we are immediately hooked. More paced than the previous tracks, there is something about going for a walk on our emotions in this one. We can feel we are being presented with a confessional track and as it progresses we feel more and more in line with it.
Instrumentally “Park” is marked by the bass elements that truly shake us every time they come in. Those elements always sound strategically placed to make us stay hooked to the track. It’s hard not to feel the same we do when we listen to a The National track due to the sort of melancholic rock meets pop vibe that the vocals transmit, but also due to the ever-dramatic but energized instrumental elements. With the bass elements sounding out of this world the entire time.
The Ground Might Disappear
We go to “The Ground Might Disappear” and are surprised by an even deeper vibe where the bass elements of the hauntingly beautiful piano and the deep vocal elements provide what is probably the most gorgeous introduction for a song in this album. Once again there is something of Matt Berninger in the quirky way the vocals sound. And also in the way they sound melancholic but therapeutic. Again there are about 45 seconds until the track builds on intercalating falsetto-like elements and a delightful set of light-building instruments.
The combination of the super sharp production that tights the vocals, the piano and the soft drums are probably what makes “The Ground Might Disappear” a breezy track that truly feels like a remedy to the soul. But there is also a bunch of relaxed jazzy elements that provide the track with bits of relaxation and wonder. And of course, a final explosion in the end that seems impossible to contain. Our favourite track of the LP.
There is an evident growing sonority that gives Arliston a great place in this world where the mix between rock, pop and singer-songwriting is the king and queen. “The Ground Might Disappear” encapsulates elements that feel familiar from some other very known artists but are also genuine to their own creation and always offer an overwhelming sense of ever-growing sonority and sensibility. This happens of every single track of this album. On top of this, these are super hooking tracks that make the listener feel all the feelings, including the ones that might be hiding a bit more. A constant involving trip of five tracks. One of the best albums we heard all year.
Listen to the full album below: