Sylvan Esso: No Rules Sandy — clear-eyed reminder of essential impulses that keep time in this world

Fourth record from Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn full of wild strangeness and romance, with full pockets of joy and weirdness

No Rules Sandy
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Artist: Sylvan Esso
Label: Loma Vista

This fourth record from Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn spins around the idea of spontaneity, with Meath stating that they are “just happily being our freak selves”. They recently performed the entirety of this record at the Newport Folk Festival — perhaps illustrating what makes Sylvan Esso compelling — their wonky take on tradition.

No Rules Sandy is full of wild strangeness and romance, with full pockets of joy and weirdness. From the Broadcast-infused Moving, to the light RnB of Look at Me, and Echo Party’s soft, glitchy beauty and lovely piano that breaks down into a tinny ‘90′s dance party, it is full of playful creativity.

How Did You Know floats around Meath’s voice, which is so pure, and yet lived-in, revealing a wry quality, and between that and its muffled wind instruments, it is an ode to ambivalence in a world that seems to demand total compliance and blind partisanship.

Your Reality experiments with voices and elegant repetition, and Cloud Walker takes us into a dub-drum-and-bass-fizz. Sunburn has an archness, with its discordant speak-singing that morphs into a pumping dance track, and Alarm and its lone guitar evolves into a squelching romp.

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The beautiful Coming Back To You pares everything back to Sylvan Esso’s foundation stones, with radiant-sounding guitar and Meath’s celestial voice, it is a clear-eyed reminder of the essential impulses that keep time in this noisy, polluted world.

sylvanesso.com

Siobhán Kane

Siobhán Kane is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in culture