Warahenege, real name Praveen Somarathne, is a Manchester-based dream pop artist who I first discovered for the blog at the end of last year through his track Skyscrapers And Oceans. It features on his recently released debut EP, so I knew I had to give it a listen. It’s called Velvet, Black, Ignite.
By Graeme Smith
Velvet, Black, Ignite is a collection of four tracks that run the emotional gamut of love, loss, hope and despair. It starts brightly with Strange New Crowd which features sci-fi keys and a plodding bass line. Praveen’s gentle, echoing vocals come in, immediately full of emotion. A heart-breaking breakdown is followed by a mournful and expansive guitar solo. It’s a lovely start.
Track two is the aforementioned Skyscrapers And Oceans. It’s a moment of intimacy compared to the big sound of Strange New Crowd. Among Praveen’s influences is Elliot Smith and he channels much the same mood here. The tempo is slow and the melancholy of the vocals take centre stage.
It’s followed by Black Smoke, Autumn Breeze, a delicately atmospheric piece of dreamy indie rock. The imagery in the lyrics brings its story to life and it’s one that’s easy to get lost in. When the first explosive chorus hits, it’s one of the EP’s stand out moments, and the echoing math rock-style guitar melody that follows is the icing on the cake. Definitely an EP highlight.
Rounding things off is the EP’s title track. The bells and whistles are put aside for a piece of direct emoting in the intro. Praveen is accompanied with gentle guitar and sparse keys and there is power in its minimalism. A steady percussive groove is welcomed during the first chorus but none of its directness is lost. It’s a track that will grab your heart and not let go.
What a debut! Praveen has taken his nights of bedroom introspection and turned them into something utterly compelling and memorable. I was not left disappointed, just excited for what he’ll do next. You can check out the whole of Velvet, Black, Ignite below.