OTW #513: Arthur Beatrice

Contemporary pop with an indie edge...

It’s the traditional indie-rock band set-up. Four – or three, depending on the circumstances – lifelong friends come together with bottled-up talent and an influx of ideas, ideas that can only manifest through an instrument, be it the strum of a guitar, beat of a drum, tap of a keyboard, or untrained vocals.

The group is then given a name, and adorns itself in black, almost as a way to mask their physical selves from the mellifluous message hidden within their music. And no, we’re not talking about The xx, though this London quartet, Arthur Beatrice, has attracted comparisons with said band.

The group hasn’t said much, musically or otherwise, in the last couple of years, but that wasn’t with the intention of creating a mystique.

“Back in 2011, we were very conscious about releasing too much too quickly,” says Orlando Sheppard, a convivial ginger multi-instrumentalist on lead vocals and charming presence, all smiles and ready for the world. “We were worried if we did that, we’d then regret it.”

Elliot Barnes, the band’s drummer, does most of the talking and is clearly very passionate – there’s a strong sense of community. “We always reply to people on Facebook and stuff like that to let people know they can ask those questions,” he explains.

Ella Girardot, also a lead vocalist with a hand for instruments, with her bright, piercing eyes, is relaxed – not at all subject to the emo maladroit stereotype that most females in these situations come to embody.

And then there’s Hamish Barnes, Elliot’s (we assume) younger brother, the bass player, a fairly tall figure, who projects a sense of normality and humour. Everything about the crew is genuine, and it resonates.

Early in their career, the group opened for Metronomy and played a clutch of festivals: astonishing coups for an aesthetic still forming and maturing in a cluttered sonic landscape, where fame and loyalty die young.

But it’s an exciting time to be Arthur Beatrice, now. Their new EP, ‘Carter’, is released under an exclusive licencing to Universal, and their journey has only just begun. It’s going to be an exciting ride.

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What: Contemporary pop with an indie edge

Where: London

Get 3 Songs: ‘Midland’, ‘Charity’, ‘Carter’ (video above)

Unique Fact: A fan once asked for Elliot’s drumstick, but he didn’t give it to them.

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Words: Safra Ducreay

Photo: Neil Bedford

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