Track Review: The Navettes: Asleep

‘It’s a groove-inducing, mood-shifting, energy-igniting wake up call!’

Intro to The Navettes
Manchester based 5 piece The Navettes may have already taken their local music scene by storm, but with
a sound that pushes 80’s influences into the 21st
Century it’s no wonder they have also caught the attention of BBC Introducing and Yamaha. Delivering up the aptly named debut track ‘Gorgeous’ in 2017 and the mid-tempo ‘Slow’ in 2018, next week (15th July) sees them release their debut EP ‘Beautiful, Bittersweet.’ Featuring 3 tracks, including the pre-released ‘Asleep’, it may be short, but it packs an incredible punch and showcases just how ready The Navettes are to take their sound out of Manchester.

Track Review
Instantly giving us an 80’s influenced wake up call, stick clicks and drums lead the way and swiftly followed by idiomatic synth lines, the atmosphere is truly captured. If it’s impact you want, it’s impact you’ll get and with guitar lines duplicating the head burrowing synth motifs, the sensation of get-up-and-go is fully enhanced.

Having captured the true essence of the track, the first of the vocals enter and featuring both male and female voice, a theme similar to the instrumental introduction emerges. It has to be said that I’m not generally a huge fan of the same content appearing on similar sounds, but here it makes for an opinion changer! Completely enhancing the hints of togetherness within the lyrics themselves, it makes total sense. Equally, in feeling more relaxed against the momentum-filled accompaniment the contrast created is wonderful.

Hitting the chorus with force equal to that of the previous sections, the groove-inducing, mood-shifting energy continues to push the track along. Providing endless earwormy melodic hooks, including the title focused line of ‘Oh I was dancing on my feet when I should’ve been asleep’, it certainly showcases The Navettes at their best. However, listen deeper and you’ll realise that the success lies in how every – and I mean every – rhythm, note and phrase combines to keep you ironically awake.

Pairing back the sound for a while, the second verse sees a greater use of mixed gender vocals, and clearer in the mix, the story within the lyrics comes to the fore. This said, the energy is still there but in a different form. Musically cascading through the lines, the cross-rhythmic toms provide hints of the previous sound with more distant guitar riffs doing likewise. Delivering a balance that means the following chorus doesn’t sound out of place, it perfectly combines the elements of the track to this point.

Sensing that we may be tiring from the sheer level of energy, we are given the biggest contrast moment of the track: a fade out that leads to a false ending! To get the full effect it’s best to hear it, but when you do, try not to get caught out by it. The genius moment of it though is the timing of the re-entry. Any sooner and it would be too early, any later and it would feel like the rest of the track has just been tagged on.

However, being placed as it is this highly contrasting instrumentally led bridge delivers musicality not heard elsewhere. Gone are the full on riffs and double-time drums we have got so used to. But, this doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Far from it. In fact, what this restraint does is highlight once more the songwriting prowess of The Navettes and enables us to conserve our energy for the most hectic of final choruses.

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Listen to and watch The Navettes on: Spotify and YouTube

The Navettes are part of Listen to Discover’s #FridayFindsFeaturedArtist series which you can keep up to date with on Twitter and Facebook.

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