Ruth and Mike Aicken aka New Portals have made a fine line of electro-pop songs in the last two years, when they’re not working as The more folk-pop band Jepettos.

‘Winterskin’ is their newest single (released December 2nd), a song with a lot of tense electronic atmosphere. Musically, it’s the most confident and commanding they’ve sounded thus far.

Posted on November 10th, 2016

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Having recently released a reworked collection, VCR & Chill of their electro-pop project New Portals’ songs on an EP in the style of the alt-folk pop band The Jepettos, Ruth and Mike Aicken are back focusing on New Portals‘ music.

The Belfast couple continue their run of fine electronic pop with ‘Cage’, a song influenced by two disparate but linked things.

“We had been talking about human trafficking, prompted by a local news story about it happening in Belfast. We had also just bought a pet Guinea pig.

“Suddenly, while writing one day, we realised the parallel between the issues surrounding both. Taking a living creature away from its parents, against its will. The feeling of resentment that must develop, but also the dependence on someone else for all of your needs and the feeling of being expendable.

“It’s a messy set of mixed feelings that led us to the lines ‘I’m not yours to keep’, ‘you owe me, but you own me’, and ‘don’t tell me how to feel’. So it’s not a love song and it’s not an angsty Taylor Swift / Katy Perry theme – it’s something different hopefully!”

Posted on July 25th, 2016

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After ‘Groove Boy’ and ‘Do It Right’, Belfast duo New Portals have posted a superb alt-pop song called ‘Skyline’.

Ruth & Mike Aicken’s have been dropping promising electronic pop for a while now and ‘Skyline’ is another indication of their one-to-watch status. It was produced by Matt Weir & Peter McCauley. More to come from them this year.

Posted on January 21st, 2016

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Madonna’s ‘Into the Groove’ begins with the pop star flaunting her moves in her bedroom, wishing and hoping she can find someone else to dance with outside that sanctuary.

Belfast-based duo New Portals explore a similar theme with their new song ‘Groove Boy’ so much so that the lyric intentionally or unintentionally echoes Madonna’s line “get into the groove / boy you’ve got the prove / your love to me.” ‘Groove Boy’ is very much the aftermath of that initial dance dalliance where hope and excitement has been replaced by regret and rejection.

Ruth Aicken clearly enamoured and by the guy’s energy – “makes me want to run and take your attention” and the song has a magnetising hypnotising arrangement to suit such a sentiment. Except, New Portals take the story further: “Take your moves and throw them all away … you took my love and you gave it away.”

New Portals is the new project of Ruth and Michael Aicken of the band The Jepettos. ‘Groove Boy’ gets an official release on October 12th.

Posted on September 14th, 2015

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The Belfast duo New Portals, appeared on my radar, as Northern Irish bands often do, through BBC NI’s Across The Line‘s New Tune Disco, which I contribute to about once a month (this week’s New Tune Disco is here).

New Portals are a new project from  Michael and Ruth Aicken who make folk/pop music as The Jepettos, who do well enough to hit 10 million Spotify streams on their profile which obviously, ain’t bad at all.

Their debut single as New Portals, ‘Standing Over Here’ (below) has a Young Wonder/ EDM feel to it but it’s their new single for me which stands out, which is the first song that came as a result of their collaboration with producers Matt Weir (Blue Tree / Mika) & Pete McCauley (Rams’ Pocket Radio).  It’s to be released on August 14th with a video.

‘Do It Right’ features a chasmic backdrop of percussion and synths that move beneath Ruth’s honey pop tones.

Posted on July 30th, 2015

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