AV Club || Best synth-pop album for people sick of synth-pop: Sylvan Esso

Honeyed synth-pop in 2014 is what woodsy folk was in 2009: indie rock’s go-to sound, a safe aesthetic that proliferates radio, commercials and TV soundtracks mostly because, hey, it’s in vogue and nobody’s offended by it. The North Carolina duo Sylvan Esso are as innately agreeable as any other act working in this lane, but don’t mistake their likability for blandness. The duo’s self-titled debut takes real risks, from the rabbity delivery of singer Amelia Meath to the brainy production of Nick Sanborn, who packs these beats with tactile sensation and unexpected jolts. Their debut is a reminder that just because music holds mass appeal doesn’t mean it has to be focus-grouped to death. –AV Club

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