Label.........................: Trekky Records / Partisan Records
Grabber.......................: Exact Audio Copy (Secure Mode)
Encoding Scheme...............: Lame 3.98.4 V0 VBR Joint-Stereo
Size..........................: 65,84 MB
Total Playing Time............: 38:12
01. Hey Mami 3:20
02. Dreamy Bruises 4:08
03. Could I Be 4:39
04. Wolf 3:15
05. Dress 3:49
06. H.S.K.T. 4:17
07. Coffee 4:28
08. Uncatena 4:15
09. Play It Right 3:04
Sylvan Esso was not meant to be a band. Rather, Amelia Meath had written
a song called “Play It Right” and sung it with her trio Mountain Man. She’d
met Nick Sanborn, an electronic producer working under the name Made of
Oak, in passing on a shared bill in a small club somewhere. She asked him
to scramble it, to render her work his way. He did the obligatory remix, but
he sensed that there was something more important here than a one-time
handoff: Of all the songs Sanborn had ever recast, this was the first time
he felt he’d added to the raw material without subtracting from it, as though,
across the unseen wires of online file exchange, he’d found his new
collaborator without even looking.
Meath felt it, too. Schedules aligned. Moves were made. And as 2012 slipped
into 2013, Sanborn and Meath reconvened in the unlikely artistic hub of
Durham, N.C., a former manufacturing town with cheap rent and good food.
Sylvan Esso became a band. A year later, their self-titled debut—a collection
of vivid addictions concerning suffering and love, darkness and deliverance
—arrives as a necessary pop balm, an album stuffed with songs that don’t
suffer the longstanding complications of that term.
These 10 tunes were realized and recorded in Sanborn’s Durham bedroom
during the last year, an impressive feat considering the layers of activity
and effects that populate them—the dizzyingly crisscrossed harmonies of
“Play it Right,” the gorgeously incongruous elements of “Wolf,” the
surreptitiously minimalist momentum of “HSKT.” Sanborn’s production is fully
modern and wonderfully active. He enlists obliterating dubstep stutters and
crisp electropop pulses, hazy electrostatic breezes and epinephrine dancefloor
But this isn’t a workout in production skills or a demonstration of electronic
erudition. Instead, his music syncs seamlessly with Meath’s melodies, so
that the respective words and beats become a string of ready-to-play singles.
The irrepressible “Hey Mami” webs handclaps and harmonies around a flood
of bass, a strangely perfect canvas for a tale of dudes hollering at
neighborhood tail (and, finally, finding the chivalry not to do so). “Coffee”
sparkles and quakes, patiently rising from a muted spell of seasonal affective
disorder to a sweet rupture of schoolyard glee. These pop cuts condescend
neither to their audience nor their makers. They are sophisticated, but with
none of the arrogance that can imply; they are addictive, but with none of
the banality that can entail. There is sensuality and sexual depravity,
homesickness and wanderlust, nostalgia and immediacy. Sylvan Esso
acknowledges that the world is a tumult of complications by giving you a
way to sing and dance with those troubles, if not to will them away altogether.
When Meath and Sanborn talk about Sylvan Esso, they come back to context—
to how, before this project, they felt that their solo endeavors often felt short
of it, as if they were lacking a crucial component. That is no longer a concern.
When Meath sings to Sanborn a melody that she’s conjured and captured,
he almost instinctively knows how to respond. And when he delivers to her
the backbone of a wordless beat, she adds lyrical bait where he’d only seen
white space. Sylvan Esso represents the fulfillment of their fortuitous
encounter by, once again, linking parts that too often come stripped of their
counterparts. Here, motion comes with melody. Words come with ideas.
And above all, pop comes back with candor.
Partisan Records will release Sylvan Esso May 13, 2014.