Amber Arcades - Whelans
17 September 2017
‘a real talent’ – The Guardian
'dreamily melodic indie-pop': Q
'Terrific indie pop debut... a winning mix of mist and muscle': Uncut
The swirling, steely songs on Amber Arcades’ dazzling debut are the work of Annelotte De Graaf, a woman inspired by “time, continuity, coincidence and magic”, as well as early-morning jetlag (on ‘Turning Light’) and an artist’s plans for a utopian city (‘Constant’s Dream’). That may all sound pretty dreamy, and these songs do have wonderful ethereal qualities, but De Graaf’s dreams are not the whimsical kind. De Graaf’s dreams have led to her working as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals, to inviting skint strangers to share her Utrecht squat, and to spending her life savings on a flight to New York because that’s where she wanted to record her first album.
Greenberg has worked with Destruction Unit and The Men – bands who play punk, skronky jazz, experimental guitar noise and raucous pop – but he’d never worked with a Dutch artist whose only previous release was an EP of melancholic folk ballads. “With the songs I write, it could easily have been a very different record,” says Annelotte. “One other producer I was talking to was a really West Coast guy, he’d worked with Best Coast, that was kind of his vibe. It would be interesting to compare this Fading Lines with the record it could’ve been. It would have been very different.”
Annelotte and Ben worked with Shane Butler and Keven Lareau of Quilt on guitar and bass, and Jackson Pollis of Real Estate on drums (plus Meg Duffy playing slide guitar on the eerie, clip-clopping ‘Apophenia’) at Strange Weather recording studio in Greenpoint. They listened to “a lot of Suicide, a lot of Broadcast, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo, The Gun Club…” and worked on the songs that Annelotte had written at home in Utrecht.
The story of how Amber Arcades came to be signed to Heavenly is another tale of Annelotte making friends out of strangers, and working to make her dreams into reality. “My favourite festival is Le Guess Who?, in Utrecht, and about three years ago they started a couch-surfing project. They posted on Facebook looking for anyone local who wanted to host people coming to the festival and I was living in a big squat at the time, so I said yes – and that’s how I met Karolina. She came over from Poland and stayed in my room, and since then she’s been coming to the festival every year and staying with me. She started working at Heavenly last year and told me it was a supercool label and I should check them out. They put out so many bands that I love – King Gizzard, Temples, Drinks – so I sent the record to them when we’d finished and said, ‘I think this is something you might be into. And they were.”
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Tickets priced €16 are on sale now through www.ticketmaster.ie & usual outlets nationwide.