Pioneers of the split-record revival, Bubblewrap Collective present to us their latest EP. It sees the infectiously off-kilter style of Zac White and the gossamer daze of Perfect Body combine forces as the leading luminaries of Cardiff’s music scene.
Whimsical shoegazers Perfect Body, though scarcely a year old, have the kind of conviction you’d expect to see of ten years. The fast-emerging band has already caught the eye of many: BBC Wales’ tastemaker Adam Walton has been a huge advocate of their music, giving them ample amounts of golden airtime on his show. If that weren’t enough for a band still in relative infancy, Perfect Body secured a set on the Rising Stage at Greenman 2018, receiving great accolades from Drowned in Sound.
Their triptych of tracks on the EP paints a gorgeous image of starry-eyed disorientation. Perfect Body wear their influences on their sleeve: on their track ‘Getting Cold’, the vocals call to mind Ellie Rowsell’s airy, more absent-minded moments; the percussion tinkles like a wind chime with an instrumental that washes over you in Slowdive style.
What’s particularly interesting about Perfect Body is that they freely rotate their vocalists: something of a rarity in contemporary bands. Their lead single, ‘Fields’, though backed up with female vocals has a marked male lead. The track, in its dynamic, is reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine. The vocals tumble together with the instrumental so that one is hardly distinguishable from the other. The way the two are so beautifully interwoven is what sets this band apart from a milieu of shoegaze imitators. Their final track, ‘Tribe of Mine’, has psychedelic pop ambition. It takes the lethargy of seventies rock music and merges it with an up-tempo energy. The guitars chime; the drums shimmer.
The EP then hands over the reins to Zac White. He is a veteran of the Cardiff music scene, despite only being 20 years old, having no less than five years’ experience under his belt – and you can absolutely tell. He will pull you into a dream-like haze: ‘Spent on You’ has a lazy, daiquiri syrup-flavoured sound that builds to a crescendo of roaring guitar and an assault of skewed percussion. ‘Waltz’ follows the same path, from mellow to a crashing end.
Sprawling instrumentals are Zac White’s signature style. ‘Nuclear Splinter’ is fuzzed out on a Kasabian scale, with an infectious, thumping rhythm; ‘Sirhan Sirhan’ has the atmospherics of the early Vaccines, distant and expansive. He has a chameleon-like quality when it comes to genre. The EP ends on a lo-fi piano outro, twinkling and astral.
Bubblewrap Collective’s aim is simple: “to put out good music”. This EP, without a doubt, hits the mark. They go far beyond that still, using artist and musician Teddy Hunter to create the artwork. They’ve created the rarest of things: an infrastructure in their city to support a thriving music scene. The record pressed to limited edition purple and orange vinyl will be released on November 23rd.
Words by Sophie Walker
Image courtesy of Bubblewrap Collective