A beautiful European match made in indie-pop heaven took place when Birmingham bred Josh Christopher spotted Czech Republic native Melis Soyaslanová from across the room a few years ago. Little did they know that the decisions made in the next chapter of their now intertwined lives would reward them with an increasing global fanbase and a polished music catalogue displaying potential for an incredibly bright future within the electronic music scene.
Meeting Soyaslanová, a student in Brighton’s Institute of Modern Music, pinpointing her style as avant-garde, Christopher was enticed by not only her looks but the promise of her impressive talent. Soyaslanová’s vocals are awe inspiringly stunning, thus sweeping Christopher off his feet. Naturally, in no time, IYES was put together and “Lighthouse” was created, circulated and welcomed by the online audience. Within a week, it achieved 10,000 listens.
If it was truly a party which brought the two together, then the next step can only be defined as being a fiesta of magnificently magical proportions. Since the release of “Lighthouse”, the duo have amounted to hundreds of thousands of listens as well as touring from venue to venue, making their presence very much known. However, it was the release of the single “Glow” which took the newly social media crazed world by storm. Appearing on Majestic Casual, which turns independents into superstars overnight, IYES’ atmospheric, ambient and sexy sounds combined with vocals full of evident chemistry took to the airwaves leaving listeners wanting more.
Experimenting in all directions, IYES sound is constantly adapting and absorbing new methods to reach ambitious heights. Despite being compared to MS MR and the xx, IYES couldn’t be more disinterested and potentially insulted. Commenting on these comparisons, Christopher states in a recent interview, “I’ve never actually listened to any of their records! The weird thing is, I haven’t had really any inspirations since my music listening days when I was 16-19”.
Also, Christopher talks about his dislike to be regarded as being genre specific and happy to settle down within a certain area music: “Subtitles are a musicians worst nightmare — a musician is meant to create whatever music he/she wants to. One day we might write something folky and the next we might try 80s electronic vibes”. There was a hiatus after the success of “Glow”, allowing the duo to explore the musical world, broaden their horizons and refine their sound. The release of their first EP Part One, achieved precisely this which forgives their time of silence as it offered their patient fans one breathtakingly momentous gift.
Unsurprisingly, taking into account the logic of entitling the first EP as a numerical reference, a Part Two EP was in order and thankfully released earlier this week. Before you reward you ears with what IYES have to offer, what I can promise you now is an EP full of shining synth pop gems. There’s not a single weakling to be heard amongst this 4-track collection. Each song presents itself in a unique fashion, offering a consistent yet exciting listen.
Let us begin with track number one, entitled “Lessons”. Soyaslanová takes the reigns with this song, as her exquisite vocals offer an incredible balance of cheer and sadness. The track starts with quite a soulful upbeat intro which builds alongside the feel good synths, only to surprise us at the end with an unexpected light-hearted piano solo to make you smile.
“Gone” similarly starts in a simplified fashion, offering a minimal sound without an instrumental overload taking over. The soppy nature of a classic ‘duet’ is certainly not present in this track when the explosion of steel drums are introduced and surprisingly steal the show. Now resembling a tropical house sound which structurally acts as the basis of the track, the sweet layered vocals offer just a little bit extra as the catchy melodic chorus beautifully fuses in.
Released as a demo earlier in the year, this was the track which singled-handedly grabbed me, leaving me waiting with hopeful anticipation for the release of some solid material. Therefore, with the release of Part Two, I was pleasantly surprised with their inspiring work and the inclusion the updated track “Toys”.
This futuristic R&B inspired number has achieved a more refined sound since uploading their demo earlier this year. Their polished song presents one of the catchiest choruses making itself at home within your mind. I still can’t fathom how Soyaslanová’s soft vocals manage to find sense within this manic atmospheric electronic storm of a song, but it simply does.
“Beautiful Mess” wraps up the EP wonderfully. This captivating track bestows the listeners ears with a superbly poignant lyrical presence combined with a classic vibrant hook. As the sci-fi electronic jingles and whistles conclude the EP, you can help but join in with Soyaslanová’s emotional and vocally impressive humming, slowly disappearing into a fade out.
With Part One and Part Two in the bag, I can’t help but ask for more. Call it ungrateful, but it’s simply not enough. I want to hear a full LP now offering the same consistency of their indie-pop sound present in their short EPs taking you on a colourful journey of the highest standard. IYES’ Part Two EP is out now on Love By Mistake, purchase it on iTunes here.
Words by Finn Brownbill