In these days of club-ready electronica, DJs and laptop mavens are usually flooding the dancefloor with beats & sounds, sample upon sample and effect upon effect. Standing outside of that wave is Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, a.k.a. Sylvan Esso. On Free Love, the duo use the power of stripped beats & vocals to convey something much more meaningful.
From the stripped synth opener “What If” to the powerfully stark closer “Make It Easy”, Free Love is a tale told in minimalism, and all the more powerful for it. The computer rhythms on tracks such as “Frequency” (QRO review) and “Train” stand out so well and are so compelling. Meath’s voice rings clear and effective whether subdued and dark like in “Numb” or putting on her “dancing shoes” in “Ferris Wheel”.
Free Love is kind of the opposite of the classic Macbeth line, “Sound and fury, signifying nothing”. It proves that dancetronica, just like all the truly great musical genres that have come before it, doesn’t need bells and whistles to have power.