Stairs to Korea consists of one exceptionally talented young man, Will Vaughan. The eagerly awaited EP ‘Small Fractures’ possesses something that has been absent in pop music for a long time. Playing a multiplicity of instruments, Vaughan has carefully merged fragmented pop chords with synthesised guitar strums to create delicate harmonies. When listening to Small Fractures, it becomes clear why Vaughan himself has received wide critical acclaim from the likes of Steve Lamacq and 6 Music.
To fully comprehend Vaughan’s artistic delicacy, it’s best to begin with the second track on the EP. ‘Paul, is this how you want it?’ begins with an undeniably jolly, 80’s-esque synthesis of happy harmonies. Enlisting the help of delicate guitar strumming, and simple vocals, a track is created which becomes difficult to flaw. Gaining impressive plaudits and immersing into the airwaves of NME and Radio 1, it is obvious that Vaughan is in for some serious success.
Subsequently, the track ‘All of your Friends’ emulates the sheer technique enlisted by Vaughan to generate broken harmonies into elusive, heartfelt and subtle pieces of music. The slightly heavier strumming heard are contrasted with simple lyrics, creating an interesting bridge between a lyrical story created by Vaughan, and a catchy, melodic tune that leaves the listener hooked.
Again, Vaughan regenerates the Pop music genre by coinciding heavy backing beats with faint instrumentals. ‘Guy Fawkes’ is a perfect representation of this; erratic pop synths are elongated to create simple verses, slowly introducing the chorus and regenerating Vaughan’s signature vocals. Ascending into an abyss of fragmented chords, ‘Guy Fawkes’ closes on a gentle set of string harmonies- a solid end to the EP.
With choruses evolving in to broken harmonies that infiltrate Vaughan’s gentle vocals, it becomes clear why Stairs to Korea are not to be ignored. Having previously been signed to Brainlove Records, Small Fractures will be released under his own record label, named ‘Now…No NOW’. It will be available on CD and as a 7” Vinyl, and will be released on July 18th.
BEST TRACK: ‘Paul, is this how you wanted it?’
SOUNDS LIKE: Noah and the Whale, Mystery Jets, The Magic Numbers.
Small Fractures EP by Stairs to Korea, to be released via Now…No NOW on 18 July 2011.