Catharsis, Poignancy and Beauty: Aquilo continue to perfect their signature sound

From hearing Aquilo’s new EP, Side ii, one would never suspect that these two men from Lancashire began their musical journey thrashing about on stage in warring metal bands. This certainly tells you that the ex-metal duo Tom Higham and Ben Fletcher are no strangers to raw emotion however, but the emotion Aquilo exudes is a far more soothing, melancholic sentiment than can usually be found in the realms of thrash and grunge. Clearly, this is a duo of great musical versatility.

Aquilo have certainly seen their fair share of the action, with their 2014 debut single ‘You There’ inviting them to join the esteemed ranks of Glastonbury performers, in the year Metallica were headlining. The duo’s spell at Glastonbury acquired them a dedicated fan base, and from there they continued their musical escapades. They released a string of EPs in the following year, Human, Calling Me and Painting Pictures of War until releasing their heavily anticipated debut album earlier this year, Silhouettes. Aquilo have had years to perfect their signature sound of ethereal dreaminess, and it shows.

ii (Side A) continues Aquilo’s journey through melancholic perfection; a calming electro-pop vibe layered with haunting vocals not dissimilar to London Grammar’s Hannah Reid creates a sublime combination of both sadness and beauty, that is evident right from the first track ‘I Could Fight on a Wall’. The second song from the EP, ‘Thin’, continues in this vain, but opens with guitar-work that wouldn’t sound amiss in a Ben Howard track, with a building rhythm that merges and blends into a cathartic repetition of ‘We know you / You’re not yourself / Fed up now / We’ll get there soon / Take a bow’. The track serves as a perfect example of what Aquilo do best, an ethereal harmony that could easily be the secret love child of Bon Iver and London Grammar.

All in all, if you want music to cheer you up on a rainy Monday morning on the way to work, then this probably isn’t the right EP for you, but if you like your music bittersweet, cathartic and beautiful, Aquilo will certainly not disappoint.

Aquilo’s EP ii (side A) is available now