Everyone's a sucker for some carefree indie pop. Bouncy synths, joyous melodies, a succinct punchiness... It all builds something undoubtedly infectious. Sylvan Esso delivers something you won't be able to shake off your mind. Their new album is perhaps the closest thing you'll get to pure indie joy. Sylvan Esso offers sweet vibes in What Now, an album all about being upbeat and fun.
There's a lot on this record, and it's all awesome. What's clearest to see about this record are its influences. There's quite a few; at times Sylvan Esso channels Radiohead, like in closing track 'Rewind' with its frantic percussion and high synths backing the almost mechanic but sweet vocals. At other times, she sounds like the love child of CHVRCHES and Aurora, her voice ethereal and the synths loud and confident like in 'The Glow' and 'Signal.'
Sylvan Esso's instrumentals on What Now are just fantastic. Some tracks like to stay understated and raw, especially opening track 'Sound' and 'Slack Jaw,' which center around affected vocals. Others build upon their electronic pop cores, like 'Die Young' and its bouncy synth lines and gentle vocals that expand into a huge climax of emotion. The spiraling growth of 'Kick Jump Twist' also see the duo reach some big heights.
Not all of What Now is a big climax, though. Lots of tracks are mid-tempo, chill tracks that serve their purpose without many memorable qualities. They each have their charm, though: 'Song' is sad but sweet (not quite in the bittersweet way), and 'Just Dancing' has some cool and fun vibes to it, but these tracks are largely just mildly enjoyable ones. Most of them are not something you'd hold to a standard for others to follow.
Sylvan Esso offers sweet vibes in What Now that are hard to shake off. It's an infectious record that will keep your attention even if it's not too climactic. It's a textbook definition of indie pop and you'll definitely want more.
Favorite Tracks: Signal, Radio
Least Favorite Track: Slack Jaw
Rating: 74 / 100
Buy or listen to What Now on Apple Music or Amazon: