Dive into Bittercup’s dark and endearing new EP Negative Space

There’s something captivatingly unsettling about the music of New Plymouth-based musician Bittercup (Callum Wagstaff). What started off as a band in 2015, the project was put on hold due to health issues. However, in late 2018, following a kidney transplant, Wagstaff was able to revisit the project as a solo effort.

Now, with the release of his new EP Negative Space, he has quickly established his penchant for crafting dark alt-rock gems. If you’re not already familiar with this name, we strongly recommend you change that now.

On his new EP Negative Space, New Plymouth-based musician Bittercup presents a bleak but undeniably endearing collection of alt-rock gems.

Throughout the new EP, Bittercup saunters through an unusual blend of alternative, noise, and folk-rock to deliver something uniquely his own. The EP’s instrumental arrangements flip between glitchy layers of electric guitars and stripped-back acoustics. Meanwhile, the vocals remain consistently bleak. The way Wagstaff weaves his vocal lines into the instrumentals, however, is particularly interesting. At times, melodies clash with one another, but an incredibly endearing effect is created.

Across its four-track run-time, Negative Space pulls in myriad sonic directions—it never sits in one place for too long. Led Astray By A Chemical is driven by crunching guitars and droning vocals, while The Ballroom uses sparse instrumentation to craft something truly haunting.

By the time the EP’s closing track Attracted to the Pain fades out of existence, you’ll have been roped in completely by Wagstaff’s dark and woozy brand of music.

These are still early days for this new incarnation of Bittercup, but judging by everything we’ve heard so far, I think we can safely expect plenty more great material. In the meantime, do yourself a favour and listen to the new EP above.