Friday, September 12, 2014

Best New Album: ODESZA's "In Return"

It’s been four days since Seattle electronic duo ODESZA released their second album In Return, and after my first listen, I was well aware I needed four full days to process exactly what I was feeling about the eclectic record. Pure bliss sums up those initial emotions; pure euphoric, breathtaken, how-am-I-ever-going-to-take-this-off-repeat bliss, that made it hard to put together coherent words about the dreamy experience that is In Return.

I’m a fairly skeptical “EDM” or electronic listener. I love 1001 elements under the gigantic EDM umbrella, but often find myself wondering why more of them don’t come together in particularly cohesive releases, and wishing for deeper components that, more often than not, just aren’t there. With In Return, an album that I suppose falls into the electronic category – it’s so impossibly far from any one thing, so unique and filled with multi-genre magic that, if this is the beginning of a new electronic age, sign me the f*ck up.

Fairly young, but with a few robust years of experience (debuts, mixtapes, singles) under their wings, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight have touched on some prolific record production here – which I completely expected the second I heard the single “Memories That You Call” back in June. That song, packed with cinematic and sunny textures, was a game-changer for me – so I had no doubt whatever was to come from this much-anticipated, two years in the making release would be on point.

And every single bit of it is, if not more. With a consistent chillwave undertone, In Return threads sounds from every emotive corner under the sun – their signature tribal influences on "Kusanagi," use of charming chipmunk vocals, trip-hop, neo-soul on "White Lies" and enough big beats to please the average listener. If you want something accessible, don't worry one bit, ODESZA still has you covered with this collection - particularly "Say My Name," "All We Need" and "Sun Models" - but like vegetables mixed into your meals as a kid, ODESZA has cleverly blended sophisticated production into likeable synth ditties fit for a glowstick-laden dance floor.

I can’t remember the last time that, song-to-song, I felt the starry-eyed gravity of each track, wondering why more music doesn't shimmer the way this does. 

If you listen to one thing this month – hell, maybe even this year (2014 “Best Of” list foreshadowing?) – let it be ODESZA. You won’t regret how you’ll walk away feeling.

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