bar italia 2023 photo
Photo by Simon Mercer

For the past few years, London trio bar italia has gradually gained momentum under the ever-enigmatic Dean Blunt’s label. But now that they’re signed to Matador Records and currently preparing for a UK/European tour, the three have decided to reintroduce themselves on the latest single, “Nurse!”

Composed of members Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi, and Sam Fenton, their signature fuzzy lo-fi-laced indie rock is the center stage of another lethargic beat. Considerably slow-paced even by the group’s standards, the underbelly of intangible darkness adds an off-kilter atmosphere amplified by the stalker perspective of the music video.

Production isn’t the only aspect that’s the reason behind the hypnagogic state of mind. The group themselves are unafraid to tackle production and poetic musings their way without warning. Their songwriting is enigmatic and reads as poetry written solely for one person, never failing to surprise on what obscure or esoteric subject matter they choose to write about. It’s perhaps one of the reasons why bar italia sticks out in the expansive crowd of indie rock bands.

The same is true for their new single, which initially begins in a stripped-down and laid-back space. Before you know it, the skeletal guitars override the song in the latter half and inject a shock of adrenaline that surprisingly works for an otherwise mellow song without any extreme screaming. If anything, it’s in favor of the vocalists for not only blending into the music like another sonic texture against indie production wallpaper and knowing when to step back and let the music speak for itself.

artist to watch in 2023

While nothing overly flashy, the video matches the DIY quality of the group’s music. Featuring all three enjoying a quaint night out on the town, the slowed frame rate and reversal of footage suggest something is off. It’s hard to pinpoint why that is, but why should it be easy? The music is uniquely its own mood and doesn’t allow for the trappings of a typical indie rock song formula from limiting how creative its members can get. And considering their experience now includes two albums and an EP later, bar italia seems to be following their same steps and doing what they had done before their recent bigger and brighter career developments.

Words: David Sosa

“Nurse!” by bar italia is out on all streaming services through Matador Records. For more on bar italia and tickets to their Europe tour, visit them on Instagram and Bandcamp.