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New album, new sound: Vessels and Anna of the North shake things up with “Had A Love”

03 November 2016, 08:47 | Written by Holly Manners

“Had A Love” marks a new departure for Vessels, who experiment with slow euphoria in this poppier number featuring ice queen Anna of the North.

2016 has been a busy year for Vessels, whose rerelease of Dilate boosted a festival run characterized by their Berlin-inspired, bass-heavy beats – complete with minimalist matching black outfits to boot. Yet just as we were getting comfortable with their intensely intricate, technical style, the Yorkshire quintet have turned the tables with “Had A Love”: a warm and euphoric ballad featuring Anna of the North.

Perhaps the most striking departure from their earlier releases is that “Had A Love” feels far cleaner and sparser than “Are You Trending” and “4AM”, both released earlier this year. Gone are the techy, infinite layers of drums, percussion and texture, and in their place is a thick, warm and comforting slab of synth.

Much of this poppy Caribou-esque sound may come as a result of the clever feature vocals from Anna Lotterud who forms one half of Scandinavian pop duo, Anna of the North. She's a brilliant choice; Lotterud's credible, crisp vocals service so much more than the average feature, whilst simultaneously projecting “Had A Love” into the mainstream.

Development-wise this is a winning formula, with the success of Kenton Slash Demon’s similarly euphoric “Peace” proving that the addition of vocals does not have to be at the expense of the artist’s core character. With any luck, this will be the final push Vessels need to cross the border into the mainstream alt-dance scene populated by the likes of Jon Hopkins, Four Tet and Fatima Yamaha.

“Had A Love” is out now via Different Recordings, the electronic imprint of [PIAS]. Keep your ear to the ground for their new album, due in 2017.
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