Amid the many, many electro-pop outfits out there, Durham’s Sylvan Esso have managed to stand out and stay pure. Yes, they are just a duo of singer Amelia Meath and keyboardist Nick Sanborn, but instead of staying hidden behind laptops, they are engaging and accessible in their live show (QRO photos). They stick neither to the dark mood atmospherics or the club-bangers, but instead draw from both sides on sophomore record What Now?.
There are the sad sounds of today’s bedroom computer artists on such songs as distant & distorted opener “Sound” and relaxed & resigned closer “Rewind”, but there’s also a simple but sweet glow for the idea of music on “The Glow”. The music industry, on the other hand, gets a strong takedown on the cutting “Radio”. And yes, there is a dance song, as “Just Dancing” extols to, “Never stop starting”.
For just two musicians and basically one instrument (albeit a computerized set-up that can do a whole lot), one gets a lot of sound & variety from Sylvan Esso.