My ears haven’t been to the ground much lately to hear what’s coming up from under it, so Sylvan Esso’s forthcoming album has been revelatory to me this past week. “Coffee” is the first – and obvious – single from the album, and it’s indicative of what listeners can expect from the rest of Sylvan Esso – sparse electronic flair from Megafaun’s Nick Sanborn underneath Amelia Meath’s compelling vocals.
This is an album of such contrasting ideas that somehow work seamlessly together, spinning out in directions this listener never expected. The first song, “Hey Mami” made me think I had the duo’s style pegged – up until the minute-thirty mark when the wobbling bass line kicked in and shot any pigeonholing I had in mind straight to hell. Unconsciously I found myself holding my breath at various points during the album’s nearly forty minute run time, as if any exhalation at all would blow the entirety of what had come before it away, drifting into the ether.
Sylvan Esso is a wholly refreshing effort that maintains an air of the unpredictable, even after repeated listens. I’m still finding myself surprised after a half-dozen listens or so, and coming from me, that’s saying something.
Sylvan Esso is out next Tuesday – May 13 – through Partisan Records.