ODESZA - In Return
Released September 8, 2014
By Graham White
It is rare to find an electronic album as exceptional as ODESZA’s latest release, In Return. Surprisingly smooth and spectacular, the album encompasses the listener’s ears, filling them with purifying tones that are hopelessly addicting. With high-contrast between the bass and treble, each track captures the listener’s soul and propels it to new heights. Affective and emotional, with waves of oscillating tonality washing over the listener, In Return is an album to savour.
Always This Late sets the stage, opens the curtains and brings the listener into the realm of all-encompassing sound. It is a sound that wraps around ears, a sound that takes hold with an addictive beat and high-pitched vocals. As it builds itself into a fervor, it holds onto its supremely potent tone, making for an absolutely beautiful track. Say My Name (feat. Zyra) takes the listener out of dreamland and throws them onto the dance floor. High-pitched vocals dance with modulation and pristine rhythm, with everything in between in perfect tonal sync. With synthesized sounds filling the gaps and quietly pulling the listener into a furious dance, it seems impossible for even one cell in the body to remain motionless. Bloom follows with a slow-growing beat that implodes into a cacophony of complimentary sounds. Booming bass and a drawn-out rhythm force listeners into a slow-motion groove as they appreciate the lilting melodies. All We Need (feat. Shy Girls) submerges the listener in order to pull them out of the water. As they emerge they are greeted by a soulful entity of sound, filled with rising tones and delectable drops. Sundara follows with (dare I say it?) an immaculate sound that I can only describe as pure perfection. Smooth and fulfilling, the track’s only shortcoming would be it’s length. A track like this could be listened to on repeat for hours and still maintain it’s eloquent sound, never growing stale or tired. White Lies (feat. Jenni Potts) drops in with interesting bass lines and superb synthesizer, working wonderfully with the shimmering vocals. Gritty yet sophisticated, the track is a dichotomy of tones that seem so natural together. Kusanagi tugs at the listener’s ear drums with rising synthesized organ and children’s voices, then drops them into a meditative drone. The track is shockingly beautiful. It creates a sound environment that the listener becomes immersed in, with tones moving about them, caressing their ears and filling them with echoing purity.
Koto explodes into a high energy tune with a strong beat and heavy bass that forces the listener to groove. 8-bit synth rolls atop the steady rhythm, giving the track an arcade-like feel. Sun Models (feat. Madelyn Grant) has the bright feel of a beach with it’s light vocality, while maintaining itself as a exceptionally danceable track. Heavily delayed and full of movement, the track is meticulously produced. Echoes (feat. Py) follows with a slow grooving beat that is both calm and purposeful. Echoing against Py’s vocals, the track has an subdued energy that periodically shifts into intensity, making for a dynamic listen. It’s Only (feat. Zyra) crackles like a transistor radio, snapping into a lyrical and soul filling masterpiece of sound. It pulls the listener along, building itself into a fervor, rising until it throws itself into the beat with all it’s energy. Memories That You Call (feat. Monsoonsiren) is another track that seems to have found musical perfection. It is awe-inspiring, an absolute brilliant mixture of tones that is so pure it is hard to ignore. For Us (feat. Briana Marela) ends the album with an indisputable bang, crashing into the listener’s ears with expressive synthesizer and a pounding beat. It grabs the listener with it’s warbling vocals and holds on with it’s pristine rhythm, making the track an enjoyable listen full of rises and falls.
In Return is a collection of magnificent electronic tracks, each interesting, unique and smooth. With it’s chill vibe, addictive tones, and affective nature, the album is both immensely danceable and positively meditative.