‘Exhale’ by Richa
From the EP Inhale/Exhale (2015)
The clocks went back yesterday morning which means winter is officially here and therefore there will be no more jangly guitars, no more nice songs, no sunshine and fucking rainbows. I’ve got ten articles left before the end of the year and the end of this project (also, more than likely the end of this blog) and I’m going to try to effectively soundtrack your winter, like I did with this article a couple of years back.
I had initially planned to kick off winter (because I have the power to do that) with a different track, however the following post on Facebook that I saw yesterday evening forced me to change my mind –
Signed to Venn Records (home of Crooks, who, incidentally, are dropping an album this week, and Gallows, who founded the label, amongst others), Richa first came to my attention when they played with Bad News in Oxford around a year ago. I was blown away by their absolute devotion to their music. All four of them put everything they have into their songs and their performance (which you can sort-of see in the video above) made me realise that I had to up my own game. When I heard the Inhale/Exhale EP earlier this year I found that the intensity that I saw at that first show and at subsequent shows (a couple of which I was lucky to be on the bill with in my band) had translated perfectly to record. ‘Exhale’, which closes the EP, is the encapsulation of this. Starting with some to-die-for reverbed/delayed guitar and a Cure-esque opening riff before the drums, bass and Gethyn Thomas’s vocals burst in; ‘As I crumble through this hourglass, then reconstructed grain by grain’, invoking the cover art to the EP, a young man turning old within an hourglass. It’s gothic art at its finest, updated for the 21st century, or a musical representation of Janus, looking both into the past and the future.
The imagery doesn’t stop there however, with the verse continuing on to invoke, or rather twist, a religious staple; ‘If we should die before we wake I pray to god our souls won’t wake’, and with that doing a whole lot better than Metallica managed with the same sort of idea. The band’s use of delay and floor tom to create haunting spaces in their songs for Thomas to fill with his evocative and direct lyrics, delivered in a completely unique style, never feels tired, instead it serves to take the listener to some sort of dark world where everything isn’t all that ok, which, in my opinion, is brilliant.
The UK music scene is suffering a great loss in the demise of Richa, but hopefully the members of the band will come back with other projects and continue to push boundaries in the way that they learned to with Richa. In the meantime, listen to the track above and get on the band’s Spotify to listen to the whole EP, you won’t be disappointed.