the dynamic duo known as odesza
If there's anything you should know about me, it's that I'm a massive Odesza fan. Their debut album Summer's Gone is one of the most beautiful works I've ever heard, and it's a listening experience I would recommend to anyone. The band is composed of two members, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, who their fans frequently refer to as "the boys" They met each other while attending the Western Washington University, and it's said that they made most of Summer's Gone in one of their first collaborative sessions. Within two years Odesza followed up with an EP and another full length titled In Return. In Return is by far their most commercial project, however it still maintained that hard hitting, cascading sound that fans have come to love. Tracks like "Say My Name" and "Sun Models" went on to gain enormous popularity and become summer anthems, while the rest of the album is packed with beautiful gems like "Memories That You Call". In Return is also the first project where Odesza has a heavy list of features; mostly composed of vocal talents that had just started to get their feet wet in the EDM scene. The boys have been on a heavy string of shows and festival appearances, working their way up to countless headlining spots-- one of which being Electric Forest. Their constant touring and lack of updates on an album has posed the question, when will they release new music? After 3 years of waiting, we have finally been served a taste of what direction Odesza is heading in.
One of the first clues towards new music came from a hidden playlist on Spotify, which initially seemed like a bunch of symbols. However, when translated into morse code came out to be the date 4/25. Although this was initially just speculation for when new music would be released, a video was posted that confirmed the rumors. All that was needed to be said was "Tomorrow.", and the electronic music community trembled. Many believed that this hinted towards a finished album, especially because of the new music they've been playing on tour. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, and a noticable amount of fans were slightly disappointed. "Line Of Sight" was released, and it was without a doubt the most negatively received song they've ever posted.
The songs poppiness is very prominent, and it strays from anything we've ever heard from them. Although the vocal chops are still there, the bouncy synth reminds me of a top 40 EDM song; bland, formulaic, and uninspired. Ironically it's said that this track has been in the works for upwards of eight months, which makes me wonder what all that time was used for. I was fairly disappointed, but I managed to shrug it off after hearing some reassuring news. An announcement was made that another song would be released in a few hours, which I prayed would be a step in the right direction. Good thing that ended up being the case.
"Late Night" Brought Odesza's Fire Back
You know that feeling of playing a song for the first time and knowing it's going to be good? That's the case with "Late Night". The sounds of the car in the beginning are an introduction to a new adventure, whether that be to just the song or the entire album is unknown. However, if the rest of the album sounds as good as this, we're in for a treat. The way the guitar is played compliments Odesza's whimsical vibe, even when transitioning into the heavier section. The vocal chops are like none I've ever heard before, they're colorful, yet also melancholy. All that's left is for the upbeat bass and explosive drums to carry out and set the tone for the track. My only gripe with this release is that it's nothing too new. BeachesBeaches, Clayton Knight's solo project, released a song titled "LLC" many years ago. "Late Night" is essentially just a remake of that song, with a little more layering and emphasis on certain components. It would've been nice to get something a little more fresh, however good music is good music, so I can't complain. The outro of the song leaves me wanting more, and I've slowly started to believe in their new vision. Perhaps a poppier approach will be taken for this album, but just like the difference in "Line of Sight" and "Late Night", execution will mean the difference between excellence and disappointment.