Band of the month – Thyla
In the era of new indie music, our ears have been ruled by the sounds of the gritty north and the cynicism of London but forget that and say hello to the south’s finest Thyla: a Brightonian quartet who are taking the indie dream-pop market by storm. While they have been making music together since their student days, 2018 has a been a year of land marks for them and it therefore only seems right to make them Underground’s band of the month for December.
Thyla kicked off the 2018 with three singles under their belts and a UK tour with INHEAVEN. By May they had completed copious small gigs across the country and released two new singles – ‘I was Biting’ and ‘Blame’. Both tracks are equally as inviting as one another and exciting as their 2017 releases. The first new track of the year, ‘I Was Biting’, is heavy number that plays around with the pitch of frontwoman Millie Duthie’s silky voice against bassist Dan Hole’s baritone-esk backing vocals and in typical Thyla style explores modern age anxieties that leave mouths unconsciously chewed. In a breakaway from their usual trippy fuzz tones, they explore darker guitar hooks and melancholic rhythms while maintaining an edge of romantic undertones as a nod to their dream-pop roots. Frustrated in name, the track dissects the way the post-modern body unconsciously consumes capitalist propaganda and how it subsequently manifests itself in involuntary motions and in our dreams. For their first new release of 2018 ‘I Was Biting’ saw Thyla sinking their teeth into discontent of modern society and just how ‘uncomfortably unaware’ individuals sit in our brave new world.
The release of ‘Blame’ shows the foursomes more upbeat side and is a soon to be mosh pleaser no doubt. It certainly packs a punch with a fist full of self-deprecation that lashes out at its listener with lyrics like ‘I look dumb in this pretty little dress and make up… and I can’t blame you/ I can only hate you’. It again explores anxieties of youth and narcissism that comes from trying to be someone you’re not in a world of social pressures to be perfect. It’s a frantic cautionary tale that informs its listener of the dangers of jealousy and insincerity, claiming that it only leaves you in ‘in the state of no respect’.
Following the success of these first two singles, Thyla decided to make three the lucky number and released another: ‘Candy’. The track starts soft and sweet with gentle guitars overlapped by whispery lyricism, but it doesn’t last for long. It soon erupts into a groovy, yet heavy riffs and darker drums beat, showing off their grungier abilities. Looking into the world of dreams and over-thinking, this single adds a psychoanalytical flare to delicious hooks and gets Freudian with their refrain about the meaning behind teeth falling out in dreams. Messing around with tempo, the band somehow manage to gently-thrash their listener in and out of a state of anxiety and peace that the lyrics articulate. The song ends with an immerse crescendo, that sees the band chasing away the demons of the dream world with the lyrics ‘get her away from here’ and leaves the listener feeling as if they’ve just woken up from a dream that’s not as sweet as candy.
Now we are coming to the end of the year and their tenacity clearly hasn’t waned. In fact, November may have been their most momentous month on record; marking not only the release of their fourth single this year, their headline show at the Shacklewell Arms but it also saw them announce a UK tour of their own for next year.
Their newest track ‘Blue’ slips in seamlessly next to its predecessors, covering all things blue: despair, melancholy, facebook, twitter etc. Using a clever double entendre, the band use the song to analyse the cause and effect that social media has over our emotions and vice versa. Over the top of jangly guitars and upbeat drums Millie asks their listeners: ‘Have you ever been a victim of your own mind/ Seen the passage of time go by paralyzed?’ However, although the optimistic sounds might juxtapose the songs intent, the tune certainly adds to the sardonic reflection on the attempts we make to understand our own misery in the technological world. They end their collections of songs, on a high note – quite literally – and as fast paced as the foursome have entered onto the indie music scene.
With a collection of four songs that all take a look at similar concerns and matching art work – you could almost call their releases an ep. With a woozy ambience, the band have created a series of dreamscape-esk singles that evoke discussions about against the grain individuality, anxieties concerning the consumption of social media and the strange manifestations of repressed thoughts. Both moody and elegant, the band explore the intersections of shoe gaze symphonies and 90s grunge motifs with fearless grace. Clearly not afraid of breaking down the taboos of modern society, there’s a lot to look forward to from these mavericks of the indie scene.
Listen for yourself:
Get yourself some tickets for their tour:
Watch them slay gender norms in their music video from 2017 ‘Pristine Dream’:
Words by Aimee Williams-Maynard