After almost a year and a half of waiting, fans of indie electronic sensation Odesza finally have a small taste of the Seattle duos’ forthcoming sophomore album.
While the details of said body of work remain shrouded (An album was confirmed in an announcement via Seattle radio, but no dates were given), fans made no attempts to hold back very mixed reactions to the not one, but two singles the band unveiled in a staggered manner throughout the day.
In an interesting move, the duo split to premier the first of two tracks, Line Of Sight, via two different Seattle Radio Stations, with Harrison and Clayton making announcements on KEXP and 1077 The End, respectively.
This first track quickly drew polarized attitudes from media and fans alike. “Line Of Sight” has all the glitz and catchy hooks of the kind of track one would expect from any EDM act turned pop star- it has a catchy hook, breezy augmented vocals, and benign if not uninspired synths. While it’s message is positive and it’s production is clear as a whistle, it is hardly reminiscent of the works that diehard Odesza fans have come to love. For such a departure from an artists ethos, the track is rather innocuous, barely distinguishable from top 40 electronic juggernauts those who shall not be named.
The narrative of an artist “selling out” so to speak is nothing new in this industry, and its more and more apparent as EDM is by and large influencing the mainstream, if not taking it by storm. We’ve seen this in singles like flumes “Never Be Like You”, and in the unexpected, undeserved, yet undeniable rise to superstardom of aforementioned unmentionables. However, as Flume has released an album and two succeeding companions with stunning depth in comparison to its emblematic leading single- Odesza also proved today to be more multi faceted than “Line Of Sight”.
Enter “Late Night”- which, depending on your definition of the word “new”, isn’t new at all- it’s actually a reworking of “LLC”, a deep cut from Clayton’s solo project, beachesbeaches. This track, however, feels much bigger, with sudden changes in sound and direction, heavy percussion, and a baseline that grows and progresses until you can feel it pulsing through your veins. Released to little fanfare just a few hours after “Line Of Sight”, this is the Odesza that stands out from the crowd- the Odesza of In Return and Summers Gone, the sound that so many producers have attempted to imitate.
It’s ironic that such imitations have resulted in a watered down product that, by the sounds of “Line Of Sight”, Odesza has now attempted to mimic themselves. UNLESS- and this is a big unless- this has all been a part of their plan. I’m making a wild guess here- but I think the irony in today’s turn of events is not lost on Clayton and Harrison- perhaps it’s actually a commentary on the state of today’s quickly degrading electronic arena. In my mind, “Line Of Sight” is not simply an appeal to the common denominator, but a bait-and-switch meant to reel in the listener, and HOOK- captivate with “Late Night”, a true signal of the duos roots.
I could very well be wrong. As much as I’d love to sit down and pick the boys’ brains, no such opportunity has arisen. It may be that I am just optimistic, as a huge fan of their previous works- but the narrative seems fishy to say the least: a year of radio silence, countless performances of a trap festival anthem that they have, much to the average teeth-grinders chagrin, never released, the unraveling of new material at brand-new boutique Day For Night Festival – none of these things add up to a money grab album.
Now we just wait and see.