Cool and collected electro-pop/funk/soul sisters Abigail Wyles and Holly Simpson – or just Wyles & Simpson – dazzled us pretty much out of the blue last year with Light & Dark and Stormy Skies. Now comes the self-titled studio LP we’ve been waiting for after their spectacle set at St Pancras Old Church and a truckload of promise – the London-based duo are label-mates with the likes of Moko and Nero (on Chase & Status‘s MTA Records) have worked with Nile Rodgers and ‘aar Rihanna, how do the two square up in their own game?
The record opens strong with the singles, while the brooding bass-laden tones of Impermanence remind us of the pair’s ability to reach levels of pitch-perfect harmony with a haunting crescendo. Newcomers to the sounds of Wyles & Simpson will draw comparisons to the likes of Jessie Ware and London Grammar especially in the orchestral leaning of tracks like Metamorphosis and the magnetising Prophetise. These girls know what they’re doing, that’s for sure.
At this point there’s a very obvious and remarkable poise to the soundscape of Wyles & Simpson and, amongst the lot, it’s sad-face pop number See I’m Calling and its opening off-key piano riff that proves to be the true (if despairing) belle of the ball. What these girls demonstrate in their production is definitely promising for their future as songs like Einfall beat along with ambient futuristic soul (and one of the few tracks on the LP to not include a current of drawn-out blip-beats).
Lyrically bare, Monsoon is our piano-led outro to the album, which above all reiterates the duo’s strength as soothing soulstresses as this dramatic journey flickers to a close. With it comes the end of an impressive debut, a rare count of self-produced, self-penned maturity that’s drenched in soul. Consider this the first gateway to greatness.