Liverpool three-piece Ninetails are set to release the colourful and cathartic Quiet Confidence this March. A decisive shift from the sound of 2012’s critic-favourite Slept And Did Not Sleep, the EP is Ninetails’ first release since the outgoing of former singer and guitarist Ed Black.
Ninetails came to prominence last year following plays on Radio 1, praise from online and national media, including The Quietus, Drowned In Sound and being championed in The Independent’s Sounds of 2013. With critical acclaim now firmly established, Quiet Confidence builds on this momentum, as the band experiments with a wealth of ideas and sounds to create something drenched in beauty and full of expansive, iridescent depth. This tactile beauty was finalized through the Music Producers Guild’s Mastering Engineer of the Year Matt Colton (Raime, James Blake) and produced and engineered by Chris Pawlusek. Quiet Confidence is a strikingly dense and ornate EP, with the music expelling great weights of euphoric release in its wending, intricate arrangements. The songs’ sinuous structures are tied together by various melodic and lyrical motifs and mantras; the songs’ narrator uses them to “frequently remind themselves of their devotional cause and self-soothe in the face of opposition and doubt. (Sanctus Lux Aeterna Aria, Covered in a shell of light I push forth golden Aria, Aria.)” Jordan Balaber explains, “Aesthetically I was inspired by really grandiose and romantic images and music. The creation sequence in “The Tree of Life” was an aesthetic reference point, and “Requiem” by Gabriel Faure.”
The band’s sonic palette has expanded drastically since their last release, with Quiet Confidence adorning various field-recordings, idiosyncratic samples and concrète textures, vibraphones, trumpets, acoustic guitars, and sample-based percussion crafted from found sound, all creating a deeply musical, constantly shifting sonic atmosphere. The EP reflects on themes of devotion and self-sacrifice, and aims to draw parallels between romantic and spiritual devotion. Balaber and Co. made the purposive move to place dry, bare vocals against densely layered instrumentation to illustrate this relationship with the sublime, and its structure “aims to evoke the feeling of having multiple epiphanies, each of which you quickly forget and try desperately to remember again.” Profoundly immersive, affecting and detailed enough to invite multiple listens, Quiet Confidence aspires to be one of this year’s most rewarding works. As Balaber explains “It feels very much like something we needed to get out of our system; a culmination of the many euphoric, overwhelming, achey, chest-grabbing musical moments that we’ve encountered and digested over the years.”
Ninetails’ Quiet Confidence EP will be released on Keith Aspden’s Pond Life this March, the labels output also includes Talk Talk’s opuses ‘Spirit of Eden’ and ‘Laughing Stock’, as well as Mark Hollis’s solo album.
“Labels, terminology and clever references cease to matter when you’re dealing with music of this intelligence, heart and bizarrely refracted beauty” – Drowned In Sound
“Each delicate riff, rhythm and croon is placed carefully and with purpose, a calculated but crisp exercise in exactitude” – The Fly