Response, Release – PVA return with highly anticipated single ‘Untethered’ out via Ninja Tune.
Recognisable as the opener from PVA’s infamous live set, ‘Untethered’ is the latest release from the acclaimed, Grammy nominated 3-piece; an explosive track accompanied by an impassioned performative video. Brought to us almost two years after the release of their E.P ‘Toner’, ‘Untethered’ is a much more mature and refined development of a distinctive and unapologetic band style/aesthetic.
Although they are typically known to hail from the prolific Windmill scene in South London, PVA are diverse enough both musically and stylistically to transcend it. They cannot be placed by their sound, which, especially with this new track, moves even further away from the twang of post-punk guitars and spoken word declamations of male sexuality – two clichéd commonalities of the South London scene. PVA cannot be regarded as an ephemeral band, or a product of a scene, but as innovative creators of something bigger which is not bound to a specific time or space. This style which we hear in ‘Untethered’ has been described by the band as ‘an introduction to our industrial arm.’
This is where I feel the exciting tension in the track, which seeks to reconcile the difficult relationship between feeling grounded or being re-born into our distanced external world. Untethered is a song about the comparison between old and new, a theme built into the band make-up, which, for example, places an acoustic drum kit next to a drum machine, next to a Hydrasynth responsible for PVA’s mercurial sound. These elements are successfully mediated by Ella Harris’ reverberating vocals and unpredictable movements whilst she sings, ‘I feel new’.
‘Untethered’ does not rely on divine intervention (in advertent commas…) to construct it’s meaning about the world, but rather rests on a strong sense of embodiment and identity which allow us to feel grounded. As Harris puts it: ‘my feet could be the rope that keeps me bound to this earth…’
Photo by Tatiana Pozuelo
Issue Thirty-Seven is out now Ft. Porridge Radio, Crows, Folly Group, The Dinner Party, Automatic, Gently Tender, headboy and more. Buy in print here. Read the digital edition below.