Kingston duo Alpines prove they've earned their place within the dark-pop genre with this second EP. 'Early Hours' is 14 minutes of uplifting joy. There may only be four tracks, but each one is crafted into something beautiful and stands apart from the next. Exactly what you want to hear on any record.
Last year's venture 'Night Drive' was a bit overpowering synth wise, but this is clean, classy and all elements magnetize for a powerful effect. If Alpines set their snappy name to appear big and icy, then it was a good decision. Catherine Pockson's voice is very current; the varied tones combine the feisty nature of Clare Maguire with the animated pitch of Elly Jackson and a relaxed nod to Jessie Ware.
'Hidden Love' has an electric chorus showcasing the ability of Bob Matthews, who makes up the other 50% of Alpines. The woody beats that open the song and crop up from time to time in their abstract pattern add a final layer of brilliance. The whirling synths dip up and down post-chorus, rippling in its excitable tempo. 'This isn't love, it's a hidden love', repeats Pockson. Beware, it's a catchy one.
But not as much as 'Deeper', a track that has great intent with tense keys and a ticking beat. These continue to build throughout the song bringing some drama to the EP. 'These words run deeper, this pain runs deeper, my love runs deeper'; Pockson's words have a sincere suspense and, when put with Matthews' musical proceedings, it gives something quite profound.
The echoed intro of 'Got Me Wrong' channels energy into the rest of the song. It has a beat that 'pops' at the end of each phrase. It sounds like a firework in the distance and when you focus on it, it can overshadow the vocal on occasions. 'Chances' is the 'ballad' of 'Early Hours.' Its romantic sentiments, 'I've been a fool, a fool for you' give Pockson's voice the spotlight. She sounds vulnerable when paired with a slower selection of synths and a lethargic beat.
With 4 tracks that undeniably stand as worthy singles, it can only mean that the duo must have more of these gems ready to be unleashed. A very impressive EP, Alpines deserve a large chunk of recognition for this.