New Portals are an Irish indie pop duo comprised of husband and wife Michael and Ruth Aiken, although as it turns out they didn’t always go by that name. And they never used to dabble with synths much, either.
They actually used to go by The Jepettos, and their music was indeed as folky as the name suggests. While they’ve branched out artistically since then, the pair have now decided to release an EP consisting of four of their New Portals tracks mixed with the gorgeous alternative folk of their former outfit. It’s a pretty bold move to make, but one that paid off wonderfully and no doubt must have proved a blast to work on in the studio.
In stark contrast to their starry electro sound, the tracks here are far more sweeter and lighter in tone. The new version of ‘Stay Here Tonight’, for example, has a dreamy Twin Peaks vibe about it (the show, not the band), and its toned down acoustics are the perfect backdrop to showcase just how gorgeous Ruth’s vocals are. ‘Stereo’ conjures up chilled images of cosy summer afternoons spent with someone that you love; ‘Inch’ is wistful and heartfelt and full of emotion; and while ‘Groove Boy’ may work better in its original format, it’s still a lovely, easygoing listen to close with.
It’s certainly interesting to see the duo return to their gentle beginnings and even have a go at some musical experimentation while they’re at it. It may only be four tracks long, but it’s all we really need to be shown that their talent clearly spreads across multiple genres, be it pulsating indie-pop or cooing, summer folk.
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Words by Samantha King