By Joseph Sutton-Holcomb / Special to The Seattle Times
Odesza, ‘In Return’ (Counter)
Odesza’s new album begins with a return to the group’s established sound: sped-up or “chipmunked” vocals and/or a slow, wall-rattling beat. The opening track, “Always This Late,” represents the best and worst trait of Seattle production duo Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight. The chilled-out low-end makes their music impressibly accessible, but the device wears thin.
Fortunately, this new LP ventures afield from Odesza’s usual tropes. Mixed in with their classic approach are a number of choice guest appearances and snazzy experiments that push the limits of their sound.
The second track, “Say My Name,” features Zyra — she also appears on the deeper cut “It’s Only” — and it is the album’s best. It begins with a bouncy drumbeat, which continues as Zyra begins singing. When she reaches the chorus, little sunbursts of synthesizer blaze up between her lyrics and the drums speed up sneakily. Mills and Knight use a crazy variety of percussive sounds on this cut to produce a vibe that by Odesza’s standards is pretty frantic.
Other adventuresome tracks worth noting are the sitar-laced “Sundara” and neo-R&B cut “All We Need” featuring Shy Girls.
Other new releases
Interpol, “El Pintor” (Matador)
Grateful Dead, “Wake Up to Find Out: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY (Grateful Dead/WEA)
Ryan Adams, “Ryan Adams” (Blue Note)