‘Full of ambiguity, it’s a refreshing sound in a world of musical predictability.’
Intro to Names:
Since releasing their debut earlier this year, Pembrokeshire based male duo Names (formed of Ioan Hazell and Joey Robbins), has begun to make it’s way into the UK music scene. Picked up by BBC Introducing Wales as a ‘Song of 2017,’ the self-indulgent sounding ‘Backs Turned’ was a raw and honest first offering. Now, a few months later, they are back with their first official single ‘Limb by Limb’ (out 10th November.) Full of ambiguity, it’s a refreshing sound in a world of musical predictability.
Featured Track: Limb by Limb
Setting off in an unusual manner, the opening to ‘Limb by Limb’ feels like we’ve been thrown into the middle of the track. Crash goes the cymbal and bang goes the drum. To be honest, it’s a little bit strange the first time you hear it – to the extent that I needed to check I was actually listening right from the start – however, it does just what an introduction should do: Set the tone for what is to be an immersive track.
Following the introduction of a slow drum pattern (performed by Joey), a set of ambiguous sounding piano chords emerges. Moving chromatically, this sequence not only sets out the harmonic structure for the track, but also sets up the vocal melody that follows. While this may seem a fairly normal thing to do, the sound that it creates is anything but, and as Ioan’s vocal performs the opening lyrics of ‘Sit opposite, ignore it,’ you find yourself sitting up and taking notice.
Ensuring that the sense of ambiguity continues, the uneven vocal phrases within the lyrics refuse to rhythmically settle. While this is the case for the verse – and I use that term in a slightly loose way – the chorus ones – again used loosely – have more of a regular feel to them. Additionally, there are also moments for the vocal to really shine and seemingly out of nowhere, Ioan goes out on a limb and slips into his falsetto range.
Reaching the latter part of the track, it would be easy for ‘Limb by Limb’ to do what tracks do at this point. However, as you will have realised by now, Names’ music, isn’t ‘normal music.’ So, as you may imagine, the track heads off in a different direction and instead of us hearing a reprise of the lyrics, they are removed entirely. In doing so, the remainder of the track showcases the other side to their musicality. Experimental sounding throughout, the final section takes us to a place where dissonant chords, dominant drums and distorted synths work in perfect harmony. The name of that place? Names.