It’s instantly obvious that Surrey three-piece Vondelpark have poured time and patience into their desolate soundscapes and haunting take on R&B, placing them at the top of the pack when it comes to the glut of post dubstep acts breaking through this year.
They’ve tagged themselves as the first band to sign to Belgian electronic label R&S, which first made its name with techno acts including Model 500, Aphex Twin and Ken Ishii.
But Vondelpark’s addition to the R&S roster isn’t as curious as it may at first seem. Lately, the label has invested in some of the most interesting producers from the UK bass scene and counts James Blake, Egyptian Hip Hop, Cloud Boat and Pariah among its signings. Meanwhile sister label Apollo plays hosts to more ambient artists and latest addition – gothic singer-songwriter Nadine Shah – hints at yet another new direction.
The trio, comprised of Lewis Rainsbury, Alex Bailey and Matt Law, have gradually built up a compelling aesthetic, shifting from hazy electronica through to guitar-based songs that are augmented with R&B vocal refrains.
Their meticulous debut album Seabed was released last month, the culmination of eight years of playing together. Drawing on influences as diverse as Arthur Russell, 50 Cent and Whitney Houston, the record boasts a solid pop bed with overlapping layers that wash round Lewis Rainsbury’s vocal melodies.
The band are currently on tour in the UK and Europe, before embarking on a string of festival dates which take in Field Day, Longitude, Belgium’s Absolutely Free Festival.