Best Albums of 2014: #9 Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso


The term “lightning in a bottle” is reserved for situations like this. When two folk musicians come out of nowhere to produce the most deliciously addicting electro-pop album of the year. For real though, Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath’s previous bands (Megafaun and Mountain Man, respectively) play crunchy-as-fuck-hippied-out mountain folk jams. Sanborn was a bass player and Meath sang in a 3-woman damn-near-a-capella group. Yet somehow, we were gifted this incredible debut?! Again, lightning in a bottle.

Sylvan Esso came to me in the form of a moment I described in this feature for Paste Magazine’s Song of the Year, the album’s opening track “Hey Mami.” What I didn’t expand on in that article was what a dancing fool I was listening to just about that whole damn album in the car on my road trip. With nobody in the car besides me, I let out every ounce of energy I had in my body, mind and soul when I listened to this album. It was truly the soundtrack to my cross-country road trip and “Coffee” was the song I played every morning when I started the day’s drive.

Sanborn’s beats are so bass-forward. I feel like this sound was sitting there for someone to explore it for so long and it just now happened. Meath’s voice is perfectly atmospheric and she articulates with soul and a hint of elegant bass that compliments the production. Whether it’s the multiple movements on “Could I Be”, or how “Dress” and “Dreamy Bruises” make me want to pop-lock and do the robot (badly) or how “Coffee” still transports me back to my rented Dodge Avenger, mashin’ on the motorway across the nation’s highways, this album will forever be an integral part of my soundtrack to 2014. One love.

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