The major single from the record, ‘Ferris Wheel’ is almost the opener’s complete counterpoint. It provides a series of summery vignettes providing hopes of sexual gratification and a beat that is unstoppably infectious. It’s a piece of music that can transport you to a whole new place, time and narrative. It’s a real joy. This duality is what sets Sylvan Esso apart from the rest.
This is the sort of album to just listen to. After a few listens, you manage to know all the twists and turns. There is nothing that wrong with this. Like like how Lucy Shanker captured this:
Free Love is an inherently soothing album, but placed in the context of the year in which it’s being released, its predictability is practically a gift. Each of the 10 songs continues to build on the foundation Sylvan Esso have laid over the past seven years. It’s not boring or repetitive despite it being expected; it’s just the exact album you want them to put out. After all, hasn’t there been enough shock this year?
They also released a follow-up live reworking of some of the tracks as With Love.
The six-track EP was recorded on Tuesday night — mere hours ago as of publication — as part of the final installment of their virtual concert series “From the Satellite”.
Detractors will rightfully point out that Free Love utilizes the same sonic architecture as its predecessors, but it’s a fairly idiosyncratic template and one that Meath and Sanborn have shown great skill with over three albums now. Besides, the world always needs more dance music for introverts.
There is a word that’s been rattling in the back of my brain this year: phantasmagoric. It’s basically an illusion that has the appearance of truth but isn’t the truth. An interpretation that is created in your own mind that may not exist. The phantasmagoric appear in everyday of our lives, in our politics, in our tweets. It’s how we interact with media of all forms from allowing the suspension of disbelief for a town overrun with monster on Netflix or feeling like a beloved musician wrote a song that speaks just to us. Music is its own deception, a 3-minute escape for whatever ails you. Sylvan Esso seems to be contemplating that imaginary space as well. Ideas about authenticity, celebrity, love, music, and self shift and filter over the course of their new album, Free Love.