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"Astray" - INU INUE | Review

Resembling the immersive soundscapes of Beach House, Dutch/English dream pop group INU INU’s latest single Astray is a sonically hypnotizing long lost dream. The title track from the foursome’s upcoming EP, Gone Astray, is pure shoegaze, wistfully brooding over the certain end of a fading relationship. The band’s distinctly ambient production and lush instrumentals explore a wide range of sentiments, taking listeners on a soul crushing nostalgia trip.

Astray has been a particularly personal track for the group, existing since the writing sessions of their previous record. They explained, “We actually performed a version of it for our gig in TivoliVredenburg back in 2019! It’s been through quite a few edits and revisions before this final one came to life, which we’re super proud of. As a band it might just be one of our favorite songs we’ve written and recorded!”

In describing how Astray depicts the bittersweet end of relationships, they elaborated that, “The song tells the story of a relationship that has ended, but that you keep revisiting in your head - even though it’s for the best that it’s over.”

The intro begins with a melting rhythm as if the slow strumming guitars and soft, shuffling drums are resounding into one another. The instrumental and production components create a sustained melody that seems to ebb and flow with the emotions of the song. Lead vocalist Amber Nefkens has a starry eyed, affectionate sound, reminiscent of someone speaking sorrowfully of a past life or love.

To say that Astray is anything less than an emotional journey is an understatement. As we follow the fading of the relationship, the song changes keys, turning to more shoegaze elements such as a slightly harsher, and dissonant guitar. The melting rhythms continue through the end of the song, and we are left with a sense of despondence.

Driven by fervent experimental instincts, INU INU manages to turn basic dream-pop elements into a representation of words left unspoken. The accompanying music video for Astray visualizes the sound of their heartache, showing faceless people moving through a displaced world of colorful dreamlike scenarios.

Following a successful tour through the Netherlands, the band’s upcoming EP is the perfect introduction to their eclectic sound. In creating their music from a deeply personal, and often painful place, they hope to resonate with listeners in a sympathetic sense, producing songs that help to put words to feelings.

By Cassidy Copenheaver

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