pela ep review

PELA – Little Ceremonies


Brighton-based duo PELA soar into a delightful realm of ethereal soundscapes in their new EP, Little Ceremonies.

Secluding yourself by the seafront doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, in fact, it’s exactly how Hannah Coombes and Olly Shelton have spent the last year exercising their brains for inspiring ideas. Without thinking too deeply about it, the pair sprinkled crumbs of new music over on their streaming platforms, “Tell Me” being the first taste of what would turn into a mini body of work.

Also the opening number, “Tell Me” tackles the to and fros of anxiety and how it perturbs our daily lives. Wrapped in a glistening blanket of buoyant sonics, the duo masterfully disguise the tender subject at hand, transforming the track into a bonafide dance floor filler. Being the first track the pair wrote after making the move to Brighton, you can hear the optimism in Coombes’ luscious vocals that signify new beginnings.

“holy / wholly” goes down the cobbled roads of tranquillity with Coombes’ healing vocals and Shelton’s atmospheric production forming what can only be described as a match made in heaven. The second single “Heavy” is a perky little addition to the EP, co-written with Liz Lawrence to produce an orchestral frenzy with uplifting melodies perfect to round off the end of a coming-of-age film.

The ambient workings of “I Hope You Are Happy” allow you to take a step back and analyze. These spacious soundscapes make everything up for interpretation, and PELA appropriately placing this as the penultimate track is the perfect opportunity to take the deepest of breaths and simply exist.

Title track “Little Ceremonies” wraps up PELA’s first full body of work quite nicely. Glorious harmonies tie themselves around theatrical violin and thrashing drums. “All our little ceremonies / You bring a piece to me,” Coombes sings in the company of the Parallax Orchestra who make a prominent appearance throughout the track. Celebrating the uncaging of Little Ceremonies, the duo shot performance videos for each track at St Mary’s Church, Kemptown, Brighton – the stunning visuals only building anticipation for how beautiful a PELA live show would be.

The EP represents a period of transition and change for us, moving out of London – where we met and both lived for years – down to Brighton. But also, this EP is a bridge between where our music was and where it is going,” PELA explained in a statement. “Sonically, you can hear this sense of transition throughout the EP, with the introduction of different sounds and elements of vocal improvisation.

Everything it seems has led up to the release of Little Ceremonies, how do we know this? Well, the hard grafting that has gone into the last three years by the duo pretty much says it all. Accolades consisting of Spotify editorial playlists, BBC Radio 1 airplay and being labelled HMV’s “Next Big Thing” is no easy feat, though it sure does help when you create class A pop, something PELA has been doing in abundance.

Being their first EP, Little Ceremonies is a miniature glimpse into what lies on the horizon for PELA. If this is just the duo warming up, then one can only imagine what’s next.