The second instalment since Sylvan Esso’s self-titled debut, it bristles with absolute transition from both Meath and Sanborn.
Markedly the weight of production reaches from every fraction of the record. The resonance of 'Die Young' booms with intent, as Meath tentatively narrates about the austerity imbued into modern life. Songs such as ‘Kick Jump Twist’ introduce a turn towards more techno-driven beats, intricately woven and layered with varying electronic elements of ecstasy. Luscious builds of tinkering synths intro ‘Just Dancing’, as rapid and slow tempos contrast one another, capturing those moments of euphoria once you close your eyes and bask in the escapism of the club.
Written in the turbulent year of 2016, they tackle the realities of a suffocating political and social climate in disarray on ‘Radio’. Offering up their most confrontational lyrics yet, it teams with electricity and makes you do a double take: “Don’t you look good sucking American dick / You’re so surprised they like you, you’re so cute and so quick,” Meath sings with every inch of sarcasm. While addressing their personal battles about reaching success, the realisation that progress can’t always be permanent as well as the drawbacks of love.
Ultimately ‘What Now’ seethes with magnitude focusing on the next stages of progression, as we try to plot our next route in a challenging existence. This album deserves your attention and is a perfect example of a group accomplishing and exceeding their full potential.
Words: Lois Browne
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