four essential tracks you have to hear this week ~ a round up

So as the festival season winds down to a halt, Belfast's music scene can expect the annual upturn in gigs, as our bands stop looking further afield for love and applause. Though there's been a slight lull in new releases of late, Encore NI has been searching for the essential sound of the city. Here's four tracks you have to hear this week.

1. Mere Moths ~ Time

The title track from teenage songwriter Patrick Wright's new EP marks a considerable step forward, both sonically and stylistically.  If the ghost of electric guitars and indie bands past suffocated Wright's progress as a solo artist before, here we see an artist much more comfortable in his own skin (and sounding all the better for it). Swaying with Paolo Nutini styled fervour, 'Time' continues down Wright's earlier carved path of honesty and self-discovery; with lines like "God know's I'm trying..." certain to keep the die-hards happy and intrigue a potential new audience.

A track as laid back as this' only potential draw back, perhaps lies in it's own assurance. It's almost too cool. Like a trippy haze, you could listen to it for hours on end and happily ponder the nature of existence. But somewhere amongst the looping guitar and 'Jake Bugg in an Amsterdam coffee shop' solo, you're likely to forget where you are or how long you've been there.

For fans of: Paolo Nutini, Gil Scott-Heron
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2. SOAK ~ B a noBody

Endearing, acoustic pop here from NI's most coveted young balladeer. 'B a noBody' is further proof that the scarily young SOAK, real name Bridie Monds Watson, has the art of the heartrending ballad down to a tee. Now signed to the legendary Rough Trade (yes, previously home to The Smiths) Monds-Watson's glacier vocals are given the sparse soundscapes they deserve and can grow into. Nailing the melancholic foreshadows of her famous label-mates within the first line, Soak once again displays a maturity far beyond her years. An album is imminent and not a moment too soon.

"The teenage hope is an unguarded time, we're trying hard to make something of what we are" 

For fans of: Chvrches, Tegan & Sara
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3. In An Instant ~ Keep On Moving With Your Heart In Place

With a schedule as cluttered as the in demand Bangor four piece, it's understandable that they've had little free time to enter the studio. When they do, however, you can be sure that this gem will be given pride of place. A slow building electronic mass, "Keep On Moving With Your Heart..." proves that the magic combination of Hegan's emotional honesty and Davison's programming wizardry, has not been used up on their debut EP.  Richard Crawford's synth is also given space to breathe on this track, as drummer Andrew Rutledge continues his rock steady masterclass behind the kit. Production wise, there's already a mesmerising nod to U2's 'Songs Of Innocence', particularly the awesome 'Song For Someone'.

The hardest aspect will be channeling such a big track into one recording. If they manage it, this crowd favorite could further progress their breakout from Belfast.

For fans of: U2, Wheat, Snow Patrol
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4. Hot Cops ~ Slouching

Perhaps a slightly self indulgent choice, though it can't be denied that the final track off Hot Cop's phenomenal debut deserves much more credit than has been the case. Effortlessly oozing the kind of nonchalant steadfastness that takes many bands years to craft (if ever), Hot Cop's display a shockingly beautiful, maudlin prose, that is quickly becoming a trademark. While it's important not to proclaim them the saviors of alt-rock just yet, this is a very promising sign indeed. Go see them now, before the mainstream start falling in love.

For fans of: Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead
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Taylor Johnson

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