Showing posts with label sylvan esso. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sylvan esso. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

video review: 'what now' by sylvan esso

I've got no idea why I keep falling behind on posting these updates, but yeah, good album, definitely check it out!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

album review: 'what now' by sylvan esso

So here's a problem that pretty much only music nerds and music critics have that I'm fairly certain I've brought up before: we simply hear so much that it becomes a lot harder to surprise us with sounds or tones that are presumed to be 'on the cutting edge'. Oh, it can happen with an interesting melodic turn of phrase or lyrics that twist in a fascinating direction or an artist presenting themselves in a starkly different way, but at the end of the day, I have to admit there's a part of my mind that wants to immediately place new records in a context with the sounds of the time. And yes, I know that's not entirely healthy - go into everything fresh, that whole thing - but context is important, and if I feel I don't acknowledge at least some of it, I'm not doing my job.

So take Sylvan Esso - when I first heard their self-titled record, their sound immediately fell into place in my mind: imagine a group who smoothed over the edges of Purity Ring with gentler folk tendencies, and an odd sense of heartfelt but wry humor that could draw you towards the huskier tones rather than shock with visceral detail. By necessity that made them a subtler group, and yet one that I was certain was never to get the same buzz - the hooks had a slower burn, the writing required a little more to unpack, and while I wasn't crazy about that debut, I definitely heard its appeal - they made complete sense in the indie pop scene of 2014, at least for me.

And to my mild surprise, that record actually turned out to be a modest hit, prompting a switch in label and the band to release a follow-up this year that finally managed to get to the top of my schedule. Apparently, they were going to taking more of a satirical approach to bigger sounds in modern pop this time around - which made sense to me, given their sense of humor and style of delivery - so I did want to cover this, so what did we find on What Now?