Stay Bless

London act make power-ballads sound cool, for possibly the first time in history, writes Dan Carson.



Name: Stay Bless
Based: London
Listen: ‘Always
Similar to: Youth Lagoon

London’s Stay Bless are fronted by George Cassavetes, former brains behind experimental beats project, FAMILY. Sonically leaner and more benevolent than similarly expansive recent contemporaries WU LYF and Youth Lagoon; the solitary track we’ve been gifted thus far, ‘Always’ oscillates around Cassavetes’ peaceful, breathy tones, reminiscent of a less waifish Sean Nicholas Savage.

Drawn from their debut EP, ‘Faded’, pencilled in for a summer release on London independent 37 Adventures, ‘Always’ couldn’t be further from the cut and paste hip-hop patchworks Cassavetes was making a year or two back. What we have now is meticulously arranged choral pop with a remarkably lived-in aesthetic. He makes his emotional abrasions palpable, wistfully thrumming, “you were always there/but you’re gone now” while steadily stripping bare – not just metaphorically either – in the accompanying video.

Echoing lyrical snippets – “it was so long ago but it’s all coming/it’s all coming back to me” – lurk under the glossy patina, nothing more than subtle whispers, but when placed alongside that unmistakably heartfelt guitar noodle and spartan snare, the similarity to Celine Dion’s ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’ is impossible to ignore. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Paying homage to notoriously cheesy influences has always been a strong disarming device for contemporary musicians; allowing for a sense of humour to poke through the occasionally sullen and impersonal façade.

Stay Bless have shaken off the torrid personal circumstances that dogged the recording of ‘Faded’ and made bombastic power-ballads sound beyond cool, for possibly the first time in history.

Watch the sort-of-NSFW video for ‘Always’ below.