Words by Abi Whistance

I stick by what I said when I described icebreaker Hide Them From Me as the crystal maze of pop songs, but the EP that now follows acts as a gradual deciphering of all that is Artio.

Backbone is the second EP the synth-pop group have released in the space of a year, yet the transformation that seems to have happened in-between the two feels like a lifetime of growing up. In previous release Sedative, Artio let us feel their unadulterated wrath. But wrath has a habit of holding you at arm’s length, and can only get an artist so far.

Backbone feels far more intimate; the sensuality on display in Arrow is something we were yet to see from them. The swells and breaks of a synth-fuelled instrumental exude a power throughout this record, and from cover to cover you feel a hearty punch right in your gut.

It’s impossible to talk about Backbone without an acknowledgement of the politics behind it. Dancing In The Ashes and Fear Is Funny both highlight the climate crisis, and the entire narrative of the EP feels like it’s speaking for an entire generation of young people. It takes a band with a whole lot of courage to be the mouthpiece for adolescence, yet Artio seems unfazed by the self-inflicted weight on their shoulders.

Yet the EP does allow breathing room from all the political jargon. On a more surface level, the release is simply a great, catchy pop record. The crescendos, the descents and the calm after the storm are all on offer here; through rich, layered synthesisers, tactfully autotuned vocals and drum loops, you’re immersed in a full luxe-pop experience.

And it’s this experience that makes Artio truly artisan.

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