With many groups, a reduction in their personnel is often mirrored in a simplification of their sound. In Virginia Wing’s case, their reconfiguration from a trio to a two-piece sees them blossoming from the previously cold, Kosmische palette found on their debut LP Measures of Joy into the wider-reaching, fully focused sound of Forward Constant Motion.
The album dives headlong into the synthetic waves that lapped around the edges of their initial work, drawing as much from the compressed thump of Homework-era Daft Punk as the languid new age-isms of Laurie Anderson to create a bold and inventive modern pop record.
The album follows the groups Rhonda 12”, released for Record Store Day earlier this year. The three track record saw them collaborating with Koichi Yamanoha on the Hi-NRG meets plaintive strop of the title track, as well as showcasing their adeptness for skittering, dynamic drum programming.
Virginia Wing’s strength is in taking recognised pop structures and unearthing the exit points within them. Case in point is lead-off single Grapefruit, which emerges from a cacophony of crackles and hums and drifts in and out of focus, even while clocking in at a lean sub-four minutes. Elsewhere, Miserable World is far more rigid; with Richards’ vocals tied to its jutting, jerking movements. Standout-track, Hammer A Nail abruptly taking off from powerful stomp to high-def escapism.
Underpinning much of the record, though, is a sense of the dreamlike or otherworld, the album split up by short, drifting passages where structures melt away. It’s a key thematic point which, in-part, arose when Pillay developed Labyrinthitis (a disorder of the inner ear which results in vertigo and disorientation).