Photo: Brian Karlsson
The duo behind Sylvan Esso is a study in contrasts.
Singer Amelia Meath is a diminutive whirlwind. Physicality is as much a part of her performance as what comes out of her mouth. It’s as if she is shaking the lyrics from her body. Her husband and creative partner, Nick Sanborn, is the programming/producing guru, his lithe frame and long hair perpetually perched over various electronic devices as Meath dances to the multitude of sounds he conjures.
The pair’s curious dichotomy is even more evident in a live setting, lending Sylvan Esso’s hooky electro-pop a new dimension when experienced in person.
The North Carolina-based duo made its presence known through “Coffee,” an addictive, impressively textured tune from their 2014 self-titled debut driven by Meath’s versatile voice and anchored by Sanborn’s idiosyncratic way with rhythm and other sonic quirks. Three like-minded albums have followed, including the freshly minted No Rules Sandy
, which the pair put together quickly in January, juiced by the fact that they were finally able play post-shutdown live shows last fall. The result is more playful and less predictable, as if they are shaking free from their previous work.
No Rules Sandy
is also more intimate and introspective, the work of a duo digging deeper than ever before.
“I wrote a love song to myself on this record called ‘How Did You Know’ that’s about my relationship with myself as a songwriter and as the person who’s taking care of me as I move through the world, and how it’s such an intimate and magical relationship and I’m so grateful,” Meath said in Billboard
. “It’s an incredibly vulnerable, strange thing to talk about. But I find that every time I share things through songs that are something I don’t feel has been talked about in any way, other than braggadociously, I find that it connects.”
The duo is opening for fellow electronic gurus Odezsa on their current tour, so be sure to get there early.
Sylvan Esso opens for Odezsa at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at Riverbend Music Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. Elderbrook and Nasaya also are on the bill. There are no COVID-19 protocols. Info: riverbend.org
Stay connected with CityBeat. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google News, Apple News and Reddit.
Send CityBeat a news or story tip or submit a calendar event.