In the world of minimal pop, there’s a lot of room to go wrong, even if only by virtue of the amount of room there is left to fill within your own noise. That sense of suppression, of something being left unsaid, is one of the most difficult to capture – it’s conceivable that a band could spend their whole career plodding around the same sparse soundscapes and never get close to something laced with hidden meaning and power. For large portions of their album Onwa, it feels as though Dutch quintet Eklin might be about to make that kind of voyage, using Portishead as their map in hope of finding something powerful.
Despite the misses, there is at least one hit in their search for gold, with their lusciously sedate anthem ‘Belled’ providing that moment of splendour. Made up of little more than a simple drum-machine backbeat and lingering vocals furnished with the odd furnishing of a chime here or a strum there, it deserves that most clichéd of descriptions for a track – it is haunting. The shell of a song possessed by a spectre, it looms, it threatens, it builds up but it never releases, it’s secret kept safe. Elsewhere, album doesn’t quite live up to it’s centrepiece – but at least the band can live safe in the knowledge that they’ve found a place that people could waste a whole life looking for.