Belgian dreampop group Few Bits is essentially vocalist/guitarist Karolien Van Ransbeeck with help from friends. I happened to catch a bit of their US debut at SXSW randomly, and it stuck with me. Their deft mix of shimmering guitar layers, gauzy vocals, and churning grooves registered as something to keep an ear on. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought so because they were invited to support Vampire Weekend and the War On Drugs after their stellar self-titled debut in 2013. They’re gearing up to drop their sophomore full-length, Big Sparks, and “Summer Sun” is the entry point into the album.
Van Ransbeeck’s wispy vocals cut through with a deceptive gravity that belies her delivery. She almost whispers “I want to go anywhere and dream away/ I want to taste the day, so take me there” on the hook, and that is exactly what the song made me want to do too. The ringing, dreamy guitars, lingering atmospheric sweeps, and intricate percussion lift her voice into the clouds so it sails effortlessly into your head and stays there. But what makes it catchy is Van Ransbeeck’s uncanny ability to translate feelings. She had this to say about the song:
I always write autobiographically.I’m not really interested in writing from someone else’s perspective. A song doesn’t just have to sound good, it also has to express exactly what I feel. Otherwise I’d rather throw it away. I don’t come up with fiction. Every word, every comma, has to fit my head and my heart.
05/05 Toronto, Canada @ Canadian Music Week, The Piston
05/06 Toronto, Canada @ Canadian Music Week, Painted Lady
05/19 Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape Festival, Paganini Ballroom
05/21 Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape Festival, Queens Hotel
Big Sparks is out later this year.