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.