It may not be a great selling point when the main songwriter starts a new band “because I had nothing better to do”. The fact that Alexandra Morte is a former member of the much-heralded Whirr, though, should pique the interest of shoegaze fans. Teaming up with drummer and fellow songwriter Baylie Arin plus her friend, guitarist Sarah Trevena, the result of just six hours’ worth of sessions may be brief but it’s a belter.
‘Best Friends’ begins like all the best 60’s girl groups with huge drums and pained vocals. The curveball is Trevena’s fuzzed up guitar which throws deliberately off-key shapes. For the first song the dissonance may be a bit too much but the second offering, ‘Birthday’, is much more convincing where the vocals and effects dovetail in glorious (dis)harmony amidst Arin’s pounding percussion. By way of contrast, the noise is stripped back on ‘Casiotone’, revealing the tenderness and vulnerability of the young ladies before they release their pent-up emotions in a powerful and highly effective vocal-led finale. No doubt recovered from her breather, Arin resumes her thunderous techniques for the closing title track and her fellow members follow suit to pile on more guitars and anguish.
‘Heart Beat’ is an excellent update on the 60’s girls group format with the band successfully integrating shoegaze and punk elements into their repertoire. Certainly, for those middle two songs alone, the effects are really rather beautiful. Let’s hope this fledgling band can continue to find nothing better to do and crack on with recording an album.
Stream Night School – Heart Beat EP
The Shangri-La’s, Twinkle, The Crystals, Thrushes, Whirr