2001: the year of the duo. Tragi-disco forefathers Pet Shop Boys gaze on proudly as the electro-wars fizz and burr, and their virtual offspring continue to prove that three’s a crowd. With the likes of Hurts and Chase and Status becoming proper, bankable concerns, the side streets fill with a procession of clued-up lo-fi switch-flickers. Recent essential releases from We Are Enfant Terrible, I Break Horses and Still Waters make the case for soldering iron skills over being able to tune bottom E.
Now here come Canada’s New Look. They take the shadowy chill of electro-pop, strip out all of the tiresome bleeps and clangs and offer space, restraint, elegance. With one of the most beguiling female voices of the year and torch-lit balladry that matches their distinctly frosty moods, the husband and wife pairing deliver on the pre-release buzz. Sarah Ruba (ex-model, Gauloises husk) and Adam Pavao (programming, general handsome bastard cool-ness) are magnificent and to be treasured. Though at time their debut tastes a little like the stripped back popsicles of the cruelly under-valued Annie, you’d struggle to dance to New Look: you must swoon to it instead. On the six minute epic ‘The Ballad’, or the uncommonly bare ‘A Light’, New Look manage the space in their minimalist arrangements with the kind of artful care that brings to minds the sleek, unfussy soundscapes of the The Blue Nile. That good.