words by tom johnson
photograph by elle dioguardi
If you amalgamated every record on Topshelf’s formidable roster in to one considered piece, it might well sound exactly like “Variations On An Aria“, the wonderful first track from People Like You’s forthcoming new record, and their first new work since 2014’s ‘This Is What You Learned’ LP.
Tender but never timid, elegant but still forceful, the track is beautifully led by Michi Tassey’s lead vocal, which adds all manner of golden light to the track, transforming the rough-and-ready approach found on their previous work in to something all together more compelling, the song acting as something of a reflective take on guitarist Chris Lee-Rodriguez’ Puerto Rican upbringing.
In fact, it’s fair to say that every aspect of that previous record has been raised to a new level: the production is crisper and more focused, allowing the exemplary playing to truly shine. And so the guitars pop, the percussive runs feel wildly endearing, and even that lone trumpet seems to bend in the wind, graceful and weightless.
Still dazzling in the amount of craft and ideas they manages to cram in to one song, People Like You have simply never sounded better than they do here, both literally and figuratively. “Variations On An Aria” is a huge leap forward, lending an even greater sense of desire for the forthcoming new record. Check it out below.