By Rosie Duffield
Imagine this as the soundtrack to Skins. It’s a journey through an epic night out, taking you up and chilling you out. That’s the first impression that Arem presents, at least, which is probably more straightforward than the band itself.
Stay+ are a duo shrouded in mystery; allegedly from Manchester, Matt Farthing and Christopher Poole are rarely seen (they once sent a balloon artist to do a Radio 1 interview on their behalf) – but, it seems, are always heard.
Certainly they know how to get themselves noticed, musically, if not physically. The physical release of Arem comes loaded with extras; including a QR code poster which links to a film, amongst other things. Known for their visuals, it comes as no surprise that the duo have decided to include something with this EP.
Gimmicks aside, the EP should entertain in its own right. A collection of five deliciously uplifting tracks, each one seems to take you through a different state of mind. ‘Call Him’ – the opener and stand out track of the EP – starts with a steady heartbeat before echoey vocals launch about a minute in. From there on you’re involved in an elevated state; meanwhile ‘Hush Money’s combination of dreamy vocals and synths would sit comfortably over an Ibizan sunset or a warehouse rave.
The title track conjures up images of boozed up debauchery and that feeling of waking up and not really knowing where you are, with its screechy guitar (read: pounding headache) and mumbled vocal. It’s a short, sharp burst of a track before ‘Dandelion Seed’ brings you back round to feeling on top of the world again. ‘Guardian’, the latest single from this release, is probably the most commercially friendly with its thumping beats and light, shimmery synths. Reminiscent of Friendly Fires, it’s easy on the ears and no doubt a hit with indie kids and electro-heads alike.
Stay+ have endured changes to their name and line-up over the last couple of years, but one thing that’s stayed constant is their ability to produce a good tune. Arem isn’t overly innovative or groundbreaking, but it’s a solid collection of dance tracks that will surely remind you of your summer holidays, or at least want to book one.