New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Review: ‘Flyte’ explores the bittersweet beginnings of new love

The indie-folk duo Flyte performed in New York City last Friday. The musicians’ self-titled third album — a beautifully raw and intimate ode to relationships — is now available to stream on all platforms.
Alisha Goel
Flyte performed in New York City on Oct. 27, following the release of their third album. (Alisha Goel for WSN)

It’s easy to forget where you are at a Flyte concert. The British indie-folk duo of Will Taylor and Nicolas Hill somehow melt away the innate grandeur of the East Village’s Webster Hall. They perform songs with a distinct warmth, and they crack understated jokes into the mic with subtle half-smiles. Altogether, Flyte displays a remarkable ability to make its concert feel like an intimate living room show.

The duo’s self-titled third album came out on Oct. 27, the same day as Flyte’s New York City show. Each track beautifully translates the raw intimacy that one experiences at such a concert, creating a gorgeous ode to love in its many forms. The album evokes vivid, tender images which are reminiscent of finding reassuring warmth in cold months — think crackling fires in a winter lodge, or a mug of brewed tea cupped in your frigid hands.

While Flyte’s previous album “This Is Really Going To Hurt” is embittered by the betrayal and misery that comes with the end of a relationship, the duo’s newest album marks a musical and personal maturation. We see Taylor and Hill’s vulnerability and openness to all things that accompany forging a close connection with someone — even the parts that are terrifying and painful.

“Let me be the long legs / That stick out of the bed / Let me be the one who falls / Over the edge,” Taylor sings on the album’s opening track, “Speech Bubble.” “Heartbreak, it takes practice / And I think I’m getting better at this.”

The gentle, sparse piano and steady guitar both work alongside Taylor’s soft vocals as he makes a heartfelt vow to be a good partner, despite the possibility of eventual heartbreak.

A man in a black shirt holding a guitar in front of a mic (Will Taylor).
Will Taylor (Alisha Goel for WSN)

In an interview with Atwood Magazine, Taylor confirmed that much of the album stems from the beginning of his relationship with his current partner and fellow musician, Billie Marten. Many of the album’s tracks are dedicated to the gentle surrender that comes with starting a new relationship. On “Don’t Forget About Us,” which Flyte wrote for and performed with Marten, the couple’s voices intertwine delicately as the two sing about memories being formed in this “early, fragile version” of their relationship. 

While much of the album focuses on the beginnings of new love, its songwriting is balanced with wisdom that prevents it from becoming utterly rose-colored. “Defender” sees the singer struggling to care for their mentally unwell partner, wanting to be there as best they can despite feeling inadequate. “Even on Bad Days” — which Taylor says started as a wedding vow before it was put to music — is tinged with an optimistic nihilism that both acknowledges and accepts the lows of life and of love.

A stand-out on the record is undoubtedly “Tough Love.” The song, which was recently performed with Oscar-winning actress Florence Pugh in a one-off duet for Mahogany, is about two people in an unhealthy, codependent relationship. The studio version of the song sees folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling harmonizing with Taylor and Hill instead of Pugh. 

A man in a white shirt holding a guitar in front of a mic (Nick Hill).
Nick Hill (Alisha Goel for WSN)

In both versions, the song shows its singers haunted by the ways they’ve hurt or been hurt by their past relationships. The building cacophony in the song’s instrumentals mirror the climbing desperation shared by the lovers as they try to escape from the toxic cycle they’ve trapped each other in.

A true antithesis to the duo’s last album — one filled with cynicism and anger — “Flyte” sees the musicians promising to remain tender and open to new love. The fact that Flyte made a point of using its band name as this album’s title affirms that this is the music that the pair always wanted to make, and paves the way for even more intimate and honest work in Flyte’s future.

“Flyte” is available to stream on all platforms, and the duo will be performing in New York City again sometime next spring, with more details to come soon.

Two men are standing on a stage with orange lighting. One of them is holding a guitar and standing in front of a mic (Will Taylor). The other man is sitting on a chair in front of a mic and holding a guitar (Nick Hill). The crowd is looking at them.
Will Taylor and Nick Hill. (Alisha Goel for WSN)

Contact Stephanie Wong at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Stephanie Wong
Stephanie Wong, Arts Editor
Stephanie Wong is a junior double-majoring in Media, Culture and Communication and Journalism, with a minor in English Literature. In her spare time, she loves watching bad movies and curating esoteric Spotify playlists. You can find her at @_stephaniewong_ on Instagram, @normalstephanie on Spotify, and unfortunately, on Letterboxd as @emima.
Alisha Goel
Alisha Goel, Photo Editor
Alisha Goel (she/her) is a junior majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Integrated Design and Media. When she is not at WSN, she is developing video games/apps, reading a long book, or creating mildly disturbing art with her photography. You can find her at @03alisha17 on Instagram.

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