London-based octet caroline were just getting revved up when the pandemic hit, with the superb debut single “Dark Blue” arriving in March 2020. They have used that extra downtime to patiently build and craft their debut album caroline, which will arrive on February 25 through Rough Trade.
They’ve also shared a new song from it called “IWR”, with vocalist and guitarist Mike O’Malley saying: “Jasper was sending a lot of home-recorded nylon guitar and singing ideas, and one just stuck because it was just a really beautiful vocal melody. We had an initial guitar-based idea, then we decided that on a certain chord this wall of violins should come in.”
“IWR” immediately captures you in its hold – which is surprising, as it’s so delicate and lightweight, just a sprinkle of guitar and vocal, but it’s undeniably captivating. The “IWR” of the title seems to stand for “I was right”, but caroline don’t turn this into a moment of pride, but rather bemusement, as if they can’t believe that they were correct. Following this impetus, they collectively drift off into an utterly gorgeous reverie, tugging us along with them. Harmonies and feathered guitars are the only sounds for the majority, but that’s all that’s needed. It’s a bravely spare piece, and that airy atmosphere makes the gradual emergence of so many other acoustic sounds and tones work all the more powerfully to create a palpable atmosphere of satisfaction – one that is potent without being prescriptive, allowing you to project any of your own feelings onto it.