Dublin based Van Archer came together in 2016 and are made up of Ste Greene – Vocals, Guitar, Kev Carrick – Guitars, Backing Vocals and Keif Mullis – Bass Guitar, Keyboards.
Greene and Carrick had been writing and arranging their own material and decided to enter Westland Studios in Dublin to create what would become the band’s first single – White Lies (music video available on www.youtube.com). Carrick had performed in a cover group with bassist Keif Mullis some years back, and the two had remained friends. Mullis received a demo recording of ‘White Lies’ on a Tuesday in October 2016, and less than 12 hours later he was tracking his parts at Westland Studios. Greene and Carrick asked if Mullis would be interested in recording an entire album to which he immediately agreed.
Greene had zero involvement with music prior to 2010. In contrast, the remaining members picked up their respective instruments sometime in the 1990’s. After the White Lies recording sessions, the remainder of the EP was also completed at Westland Studios. Gold and You feature a session drummer, gospel singers and brass musicians.
This EP starts with Gold, shimmering with the brass musicians that feature on this track this track has the kind of beat that makes you want to dance and instantly puts a smile on your face. It is about putting your faith in someone special rather than money and possessions. The funky bass line fits right in with the brass section and gospel singers, giving this track a kind of old fashioned feel but bought up to date by the vocals and guitars. The vocal tone is soulful with a gritty edge, showing diversity.
You is a at a slower pace which allows the raspy, breathy vocals to shine through. The guitars have a beautiful tone adding brightness and texture. The bass line adds additional groove and comes into its own as the track builds up. The build up in this track is great, like a keg put under pressure, building in intensity and tempo, the guitars move from a soft tone to a harder edge and the vocals also mimic this transition.
Van Archers first single White Lies kicks off with an upbeat tempo with the use of keys to bring additional qualities to the track. The guitar work in this track is a delight, getting toes tapping. The vocals build in passion and intensity, becoming harder hitting and emotional. The build into the chorus combines chugging bass lines with fluid riff. This is a track that would be great to hear live, showing exactly what this band has to offer. The complete change of tempo at the end is a surprise, with Greene’s vocals dripping with contempt.
Nothing uses acoustic guitars to great effect, bringing a lightness of tone but still manage to convey a load of emotion. The vocals on this track are deep with pain and hurt. Van Archer are a band who are not afraid to leave space for the listener to process what they are hearing and it works really well here. The wounded vocals are plaintiff easing around the shimmer from keys and the soft tones from the guitar.
I really loved this EP, it has much to recommend it, from funky tunes that make you want to move and tap your toes to tracks that pull at the heart strings and transport you away to another place. I am really looking forward to the next EP.
Van Archer are currently working on a follow up EP in Herbert Place Studios, Dublin. Their next single ‘Tearless’ is due to be released in the coming weeks.
The music is available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and Tunecore.
Band website: www.vanarcher.net