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Other // Belfast, Down

Virgins are a Belfast based shoegaze band, debut single ‘Vows’ released in Aug 22 garnered instant attention and drew Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkin comparisons. The band signed to Galway based label Blowtorch Records in early 2022, new single ‘signalling’ followed in Sept 22 with EP ‘transmit a little heaven’ being released on pink vinyl in Oct 22.Both single and EP releases received media and radio coverage; Dan Hegarty gave ‘signalling’ multiple plays, Across The Line and shoegaze radio station DKFM championed the band. Hot Press – ‘Shimmers and glistens’, The Last Mixed Tape -‘Depthful, captivating shoegaze’, Chordblossom, The Thin Air, Dig With It and Japan based Portal Zine all showed appreciation for the release. More recently the EP has made its way into various end of year lists including Chordblossoms Top 25 albums and Top 50 songs, Shoegaze Blog top 20 releases of 2022 and Destroy/Exists Top 10 Ep’s of the year. November 22 saw the band embark on a 6 date headline UK tour with an Irish tour booked for April 2023 and a headline slot at GazeFest in August.

Opening with swathes of choral shimmering reverb and an ethereal haunting vocal ‘Signalling’ marks the first track on Virgins debut EP ‘Transmit A Little Heaven’. This dreamy intro gives way to a grungier riff that wouldn’t be out of place on any 90’s Sub Pop record. The initial blasts of wailing reverbs and trem arm abuse in 'Yearn' are matched by the wanton desire of the vocals and swathes of guitars, moving between 80's inspired chorus sounds and Pumpkins-esque dreamy distortion. Virgins alchemy comes in marrying these juxtaposing elements together to create a sound that in equal parts wraps you in clouds of ambient washed out reverbs while simultaneously keeping your head nodding along with fuzzed out guitars and hammering drums. 'Vows' originally seen a release last year but has been redone with new vocalist Rebecca. The first two tracks lean into the post-gaze side of things while 'Vows' the centre point of the record, full embraces every gazy element and using it to pull the listener into Virgins pink hazed shoegaze cloud. Title track 'Transmit A Little Heaven' shimmers and glistens while further enveloping the listener, drifting off into celestial infinity. 'Golden Tongues, Silver Lips' rips out of the speakers, injecting some pace to close out the EP. Still retaining the elemental fuzz and reverb but delivered with a punk energy. The track builds to a colossal crescendo, delays, reverbs and vocals melodies intertwining with each other, weaving in and out of focus, only to leave the listener with an acapella as they float back down to earth.

Lyrically the EP covers a range of subject matter, wrapped and dipped in metaphor and using language to add to the already dense tapestry woven by the band, it's there for the listener to discover. However, like all great shoegaze songs the EP touches on desire, death, lust, sex, regret and sometimes all within the same song, sometimes all at once. This against a layered back drop of dense and beautiful guitars that dovetail between creating a dense melting wall of sound to beautiful shimmering passages. Rebecca's vocals are a whisper in your ear from a long forgotten ghost laden with regret, melancholia and a desire to return to a more innocent time.

“Deafening dream pop.”
Virgins are a Belfast based shoegaze band with Michael Smyth at the hazy centre and joined by vocalist Rebecca Dow on the recordings. Born out of a serendipitous encounter with Slow Crushes ‘Aurora’ record this acted as the catalyst for Michael’s foray into the fuzz and reverb soaked world of shoegaze.

“Bliss kissed ‘Vows’ propels you to a rapture of ecstatic emotion”
Having written and demoed 5 songs in early 2021 Michael took the approach that he would be responsible for all the instrumentation when it came to record and would seek out a vocalist to bring his lyrics and melodies to life. With the bulk of recording taking place in early 2022 Michael again worked with Jonny Woods (Wynona Bleach/Fierce Panda) to engineer and produce the EP. Jonny recorded debut single ‘Vows’ and has been instrumental in Virgins sound since these initial sessions. Going as far to play bass on a number of the tracks on the EP. Following these sessions Michael sought out a vocalist that could transport listeners to the nebulous dream state he was aiming for. On Valentine’s Day Rebecca reached out and quickly following this in April entered the studio to lay down vocals for the EP ‘Transmit A Little Heaven’. Virgins signed to Galway based label Blowtorch Records in July of 2022.

“Cocteau Twins with extra guitar and drums, exquisite.”
Debut single ‘Vows’ was released August 2021 to accolades from press and radio alike, the track premiered on white, The Verge Music News drew comparisons to Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream. The track was picked up by Golden Plec, Chordblossom, Grace Note and played on BBC Across the Line as a World Exclusive and Q Radio. Shoegaze Blog broke their rule of not covering singles for Vows deeming it “deafening dream pop.” New single 'Signalling' was released ahead of the EP and found favour with Dan Hegarty RTE2fm 'absolutely love', The Thin Air and The Last Mix Tape.

Initially the band was conceived as one with a revolving door policy, with an initial line up forming and disbanding in 2021. Michael quickly moved past this idea once the current line-up of the band was formed, completed by David Sloan on guitar, James Foy on drums and Brendy McCann of Hand Models on bass. Virgins is now a fully fleshed band with each member an integral part of the sound.

Virgins have spent 2022 gigging relentlessly all over NI/Ireland including playing Ten Music Festival in Derry, supporting Chastity (Canada/Death Wish Inc.), Wynona Bleach (Fierce Panda) and Burial At Sea (Can/UK).

‘Transmit A Little Heaven’ was released by Blowtorch Records on October 14th on a limited pressing of 200 pink vinyl through Blowtorch Records and Virgins Bandcamp page. The band embarked on a 6 date headline UK tour in November in support of the release.

Upcoming Gigs

3rd June 2023 19:00 Headline @ Fibber Magees
25th August 2023 19:00 GazeFest Dublin More details
26th August 2023 11:00 GazeFest Belfast