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Odesza “In Return” – Album Review

Named after a relative’s sunken ship, Odesza, aka Western Washington University graduates Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, stick to the familiar waters of starry-eyed electronica on their second studio album, In Return.

The follow-up to 2012’s Summer’s Gone, a record which instantly positioned the duo as the much-needed antidote to the EDM fratboy crowd, might not push the boat out in terms of its production, with the majority of its twelve tracks offering a similar blend of celestial synths, glitchy digital effects and chillwave beats. However, the well-chosen selection of various emerging guest vocalists ensures that it’s not simply a carbon copy of its predecessor.

New Jack Swing revivalist Shy Girls is perhaps Odesza’s most impressive recruit, with his piercing falsetto the perfect foil for the old-school Timbaland vibes of “All We Need.” But the likes of Madelyn Grant on the pitch-shifted witchy R&B of “Sun Models,” Py on the warped, yet strangely seductive, electrosoul of “Echoes” and Zyra on the dreamy post-dubstep of “Say My Name” also all make the most of their opportunity to shine.

In Return also possesses something of an intriguing Far East flavour, from the snake-charming strings of “White Lies,” to the long-winding sitar solos of “Sundara” to the Oriental chimes of “Kusanagi.” Elsewhere, India’s hotly-tipped Monsoonsiren further showcases his potential with a soaring vocal turn on the Grimes-esque electronica of “Memories That You Can Call.”

The album’s slightly repetitive nature and lack of memorable melodies means it’s unlikely that Odesza will experience Disclosure-style mainstream success in the near future. But while the artists formerly known as Catacomb Kid and BeachesBeaches aren’t the dance world’s most hook-laden duo, the otherworldly In Return proves that they’re still one of the dreamiest.

3.5 / 5 stars     

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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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