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Photography: Darren Aston / 500px.com/darren-m

Sylvan Esso

Harvest Sun @ Arts Club 10/11/17

The tiered steps that descend towards the Arts Club stage are neatly rowed with visually excited and buoyant bodies; below them, the bodies are wedged closer together, as they eagerly cluster towards the barrier. The stage suddenly glows with deep, vibrant phosphorescent-like greens and purples. Silhouetted by this glow are the animated movements of Amelia Meath and the arched frame of Nick Samson that make up SYLVAN ESSO.

The crowd immediately break into dance, as the pair burst into their set; bodies break into trance, engrossed and captured by their snappy electronic hooks and uplifting tone. Meath contorts and snaps her limbs emphatically to the shimmers of Samson’s synth, her carefree liberating aura orchestrating the high-spirited, ecstatic carousing reverberating throughout the room.

Their set is littered with pop bangers that evoke an elative relief from the drudgery of a dark November night – a focused intention of their latest album What Now, of which the tones are more honeyed than the mellow, languid playfulness of their self-titled 2014 release Sylvan Esso. The strobing chorus of Die Young stirs cresting waves amongst the crowd as it crashes out from within the song’s coy, shuffling verses. Just Dancing is propped up by a stimulating trance beat, turning the scene into an elated rave. Despite Meath’s constant energy and animation, her voice doesn’t quiver, demonstrating an impressive stamina, as she carries the bigger notes seamlessly. Her light, bubbly voice, that, at times reaches into a pained country singer’s twang, that may be scathing for some, seems to sweeten the majority of the crowd.

The devoted dancefloor does not let up throughout the set, however, the pair on stage pause to pay homage to Liverpool and its supposed parallels to Samson’s hometown in Wisconsin. To this, he toasts his can of lager with the five empty six-pack rings draped over his wrist (an apparent hometown tradition).

To those among the crowd, who crave the deeper melancholic tones of their 2014 hit single Coffee, you may have felt brief satisfaction and solace throughout the four minutes that the track allows; aside from that you may be disappointed by the perturbing jubilation shown by those around you. But it’s hard to shun and spite the illuminating effect of these tunes on the crowd in attendance tonight. Not often do you see indie audiences demonstrate such widespread, natural, independent disinhibition and free flowing un-self-conscious dance that Sylvan Esso have been able to catalyse this evening.

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