Fans of the quiet power of Wet, Sylvan Esso and Bon Iver’s more experimental work will agree Vaarwell is a seamless addition to the most minimalist of music libraries. Vaarwell rejoice in finely tuned attention to detail, creating heartfelt sound through expertly placed moments of silence on their debut album Homebound 456. The Portuguese trio released their debut EP Love and Forgiveness in 2015, staking their claim as an underground alt-pop group with a definite feel for R&B hooks. Their fresh ambient sound wraps itself around your psyche over the course of Homebound 456, both comforting and haunting in its elegant simplicity.
The first track, “Untitled,” is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. Margarida Falcão effortlessly controls her voice through the verses, soaring gracefully without overpowering the quiet melody. “American Dream” showcases the band’s ear for percussion, with a tone similar to that heard on Daughter’s most popular tracks. Homebound 456 is a carefully curated album, with no minute left unpolished or unused. “Still Me” is a stunning yet brief work of instrumental beauty, a thoughtful interlude between tracks that doesn’t stop the album’s forward momentum.
There isn’t a song on this record that won’t make you feel something, but also probably isn’t one that will make you feel more than a true standout, “You.” The samples layered over the melody are disorienting and frantic, which only makes the song more magical. Once you break down the hypnotic background, the painfully honest lyrics swirl through the track with more clarity and force. Falcão emotes with her voice so delicately, but there’s an urgency in this song that feels sharp against the repetitive beat.
Vaarwell may not be the most well-known of bands, but they have an incredible potential for independent success. Homebound 456 is an immensely impressive debut that manages to make heartache picturesque.
Watch the remarkable video for “You” below!