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Sylvan Esso – Free Love Review

Time to spread the synth-pop love.

Sounds like…

Chill pop to sway to.

The review

There is an ease that glides over the synth-pop party of Sylvan Esso’s latest album ‘Free Love’. It is an album that works so cohesively that the listener is almost tricked into thinking its a 30-minute mixtape. Full of bleeps, vocoders, low slung beats and clean simplicity, this is pure joyous pop.

The synths throughout the ten tracks have a tape warmed hue to them. Everything feels rubbery and pliable – even when its a cascade of bleeps and wubs. Paired with Amelia’s voice which rarely fails to captivate in its soft and childlike innocence, it is a winning combination.

Sylvan Esso

Whilst all the tracks are catchy and immediate enough to grace mainstream radio and be a bop, its the more creative and playful tracks that I gravitate towards most. ‘Ring’ is synth-Beyoncé, ‘Ferris Wheel’ plops in crowd cheers and strange pipes as a hook and ‘Runaway’ has a clippity clop flow it that’s infectious. At no point do you get more than three of four keyboards or drums going nuts at once and it creates a sonic cleanness that often I don’t like but here, I really do. It is like the sound has been Marie-Condo’d! I think the real reason I enjoy it here is that Sylvan Esso refuses to let a track stay still. They constantly evolve with tiny tweaks to synths and frequencies so your ears never tire of the noise.

Elsewhere ‘Free’ and ‘What If’ leans into the folksy side of Sylvan Esso. The track ‘Rooftop Dancing’ is the perfect blend of both sides of the house. Nick and Amelia manage to do something that Goldfrapp often didn’t do – bring their two very different styles of music together under one roof. Goldfrapp swayed between two which can make fans yearn for one version or another. Here, it is just effortlessly easy to enjoy it all.

‘Free Love’ is a warming, happy place that has a simple message of love and a sonic message of smiling. Direct, streamlined, danceable and swayable – Syvlan Esso continue to delight.

Recommended track: Ferris Wheel

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Sylvan Esso - Free Love



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