Sylvan Esso: The Best Random Pairing In Pop Music

Photographed by Atisha Paulson.
Sylvan Esso (a.k.a. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn) is, at its heart, a pop band. But, don't go thinking there's a sugary-sweet formula to its sound. Rather, Meath and Sanborn's two breakout singles, "Play It Right" and "Coffee," are stripped-down, minimalistic compositions that break the exhaustive (yet forever addictive) Top 40 sound, but still have the danceable vibe of a Lady Gaga track (a personal favorite of both band members — but more on that later).
Sylvan Esso has studied the Top 40 kings and queens, learned their rules, and proceeded to break them. It's not that they set out to expose the structure of our pop addictions; that kind of subtle undermining is simply in their nature. Sanborn's bass-heavy production is the yin to Meath's soft-spoken vocal yang, and the outcome of their symbiotic relationship is warm, gentle pop with a richly organic sound. So, get up, get down, chill out, and tune in. Sylvan Esso claims it wasn't meant to be a band — but its debut self-titled LP drops May 13 anyway. Take that, Fates.

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