Sylvan Esso // What Now
Sylvan Esso paints their vision with a cleaner brush in What Now
With their sophomore release, Sylvan Esso paints their vision with a cleaner brush. The electronic duo consists of singer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn. Interestingly, both musicians come from stripped down, acoustic-based folk acts: Mountain Man and Megafaun, respectively. Moving out from the backwoods into a postmodern cityscape, Sylvan Esso blends melodic sensibilities with an electropop twist. Opening with the solemn promise of "Sound," Meath is almost a capella, her voice layered with its over-processed doppleganger. The singles start coming with "The Glow" and "Song," both vibrant, uplifting tracks that take listeners back to the simple magic of The Postal Service. Ironically, the poppiest point of the album has to be "Radio," a cynical reflection about fitting in with the music industry. Meath ends each line of the chorus singing "three point three oh," lamenting the length of a successful radio track. Each song has luscious production, full of bass hits and mechanical pings, all against Meath's gorgeous vocals. With somber rumination, the album builds on their debut for an even stronger release.
– Nick Warren