Once in a while, something extraordinary winds up in your inbox. I'm not much of an album person, but I've been entranced by this wonderfully intimate debut LP from 5am. 5am are Powder, 5ive (formally of Cos/Mes), and Andry, a multidisciplinary designer. The three friends recorded 'Pre Zz' during 2020 and 2021, and while the pandemic is never explicitly mentioned, it is implied throughout, although not in any way a listener might expect.

'Pre Zz' takes you inwards. Drawing you into the magic and oddness in the liminal moments of life. As they say themselves, 'The album captures the moment of changes — Pre something — as like before a sleep after a long stay up.' And most of us have found ourselves to be living one of these moments, caught waiting for the world to begin again. Stuck between times.

Rather than look outwards then, the focus here is on the small, intimate and every day. On finding the joy, strangeness and whimsy therein. It's uncanny but warm and welcoming.

Musically it's refreshing to hear something that doesn't really sound like much else. There's something about the simplicity and poignancy of the lyrics that are reminiscent of Arthur Russell. Potentially, a lot of the tracks might be considered ambient, but there's a cosy, unhurried vibe miles away from any glacial, spartan aesthetic.

The production, of course, is perfect but also perfectly relaxed and playful. There's no sound design show-offery, it's a gloriously open and somehow acoustic sounding record, even though you assume it was predominantly made 'in the box'.

Welcome to the world of 5am, then. Let's just sit with the moment and not rush the next thing.

You can pre-order Pre Zz on Bandcamp now