Yes, we have another group from the Appalachian state, North Carolina. More specifically Durham, which not only is it the fourth largest municipality in the state, but is also the home of Iron & Wine. Sylvan Esso is Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn with Nick doing the producing and adding his own electric styling to Amelia’s vocals. The two had met after she had left Mountain Man, an acapella group, as she was touring solo as Made of Oak. She asked Nick to mix her song, “Play it Right”, in his own style. After finishing a long tour with Feist, Amelia and Nick were ready to get into the studio
This self-titled album came out on Partisan Records in May, 2014. . I’m going to be out front here: I only enjoy half of this album, five songs specifically. Not to say all the others aren’t good, it’s gust in the contrast of these great songs, they kind of drag the whole album down. These songs are so great on their own, that if they made up one EP, it would be in my top ten for sure. “Hey Mami” is an excellent, powerful opener track that starts off slow and vocally focused, much like Mountain Man.
From “Dress” to “Coffee” it is a wild ride to nowhere. All of vit is very electronic and carried with reverbing vocals, clicks and pops, as well as a powerful bass. By far “Coffee” is the best song on this record, not because of how powerful and emotional it is, but how it fits every mood. I think this song sets up perfectly for the sound of the next album. It’s refined and doesn’t overtake the vocals. On this song, you can hear Nick providing backing vocals towards the end.
I’m not sure what they were going after for “Uncatena” but I just can’t be a bit fan of it. It’s awkward in places and doesn’t flow with the rest of them. I can see this being the acoustic break many albums I’ve reviewed have, which I like a lot. Somehow here it just doesn’t feel right. Even if I did like the song, right before the last song is not the right place for it. The lyricism just seems off, like made by auto correct, and really throws me off the track. The sounds are nice and so is the rhythm, but it’s not really for this album.
The best part of the vinyl was the insert with lyrics. It was hard to read in a good way. The whole thing was put into one block of text, like it was made for computers. There’s nothing I can say about the vinyl,