Amethysts is the debut, self-titled album from the Bury St. Edmonds-based electronic pop duo of the same name. Having already built up a reputation for live performance, this album, which was originally planned for release in 2019 before the pandemic hit, has been hotly anticipated on the underground indie scene. Was it worth the wait? Let’s find out!
By Graeme Smith
Feature photo by Amethysts
From its ambient, spoken word Intro, you can tell that this album intends to break the mould. It flows seamlessly into track two How It Is, which introduces a steady electronic groove and the compelling vocals harmonies courtesy of the two halves of Amethysts – Clarice and Simon. How It Is is relatable pop that feels fresh.
The duo draw from gemstone imagery in much of their concepts – from their name, to the opening vignette, and to the title of track three, Pressure Makes Diamonds. It has a memorable, hooky electronic intro and a percussive undertone that hints at afrobeat influences. The combination feels both organic and digital. It’s really quite a feat.
Forget-me-not follows, an emotive slow-burner that would make a good balm for a broken heart. Then it’s the romantic My Love, originally released as a single in 2016, it nicely demonstrates just how long in the making this album has been.
We then see the return of the gemstone theme with the short instrumental Semi-precious and the moody and downtempo Stones. Things are then lifted by the expansive and emotional Wreckers and the album’s middle is rounded out by the intimate, melancholic Young.
The album’s final part is begun by the two-part thesis Frore. Meaning “frozen” or “frosty”, it feels just right to listen on a winter’s day (like today). With driving percussion, heavy bass and layers of echoing guitar, it suggests a spiritual journey. Part two both mirrors and expands on part 1, with spoken word vocal samples giving it an experimental feel. It reminded me of Stumbliene & Asa’s incredible 2012 collaboration Your Secret.
And there is just enough time left for the vulnerable electro-acoustic coda Alone and its textured Outro refrain.
As an introduction to Amethyst’s music, I can’t imagine a more perfect collection of tracks. Cohesive, yet each with their own story to tell, Amethysts is a world that draws you in and holds your attention from start to end. Keep an eye out for these guys. I think they’re destined for great things.
You can hear Amethysts below.