Heralding from Belfast, dreamy alt-pop duo Mike and Ruth Aicken aka New Portals are back, following up from their highly acclaimed single Groove Boy with new summery '90s synth pop track Stay Here Tonight.
Whilst not complete newbies to the scene – the pair originally gained fame with alt-folk group Jepettos, sharing stages with the likes of Foo Fighters and Tinie Tempah – they have switched it up a notch with their new music. Ruth Aiken’s light angelic vocals are thankfully sticking around but gone are the folksy acoustic riffs. In their place we have r&b tinged percussion, catchy melodies (check out the song Standing Over Here for melodic pop at its best!) and the electronic synth riffs we have come to know and love from the best electronic pop music.
If you’re opposed to AlunaGeorge’s transition into dancehall and crave their original cool, electro-pop sound, then New Portals are just the male-female duo to fill that void. With Ruth on vocals and percussion, and Mike on vocals, synth and keyboard, they are a perfect match, creating records that induce a yearning for summer, whilst gazing out of the office window at the rain. Their latest offering, Stay Here Tonight, sees their otherworldly take on a-typical pop music. Infused with '90s influences, it is a catchy upbeat piece, laden with percussion and dreamy synths, overlaid with Ruth’s ethereal vocals – who could easily be compared to Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches fame. If summery sparkle isn’t quite your thing be sure to check out their other track Skyline, giving The Weeknd vibes, it is a darker more brooding tune whilst still giving that electronic edge.
The band have already garnered support from Radio 1’s Huw Stevens and Phil Taggart, whilst most recently being championed as The Guardian’s “New Band of the Week” after the release of their single Groove Boy. With a wealth of praise coming their way already, they have proven they’re creating something really special.
Words by Lauren E. Hewitt