Sylvan Esso – “Die Young” Track Review
Sylvan Esso might well be guilty of sending mixed signals as they ready the release of their long awaited second album, What Now. Following in the footsteps of their stunningly understated (and widely influential) 2014 single “Coffee” was never going to be easy, but the surprisingly brazen “Radio” – a bristling and audacious onslaught of pure pop punch – served to reassert the electronic duo’s credentials.
Their latest offering, “Die Young”, whose release coincides with the confirmation of Esso’s new album, couldn’t be further removed from “Radio” or the squelchy kitsch of “Kick Jump Twist”. This slow burner solemnly stares at its feet in verse, before the jarring thud of synths (think LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yrslf Cln”) announces the chorus. These stark keys might be Murphy’s hallmark, but considering how distinctive and effective they prove, it’s a shame it has taken younger acts this long to cotton on to their power.
The chorus, however, is the star: as a wistful plead, “I was gonna die young, but now I’ve got to wait for you”, drifts across the void. This loving and haunting statement gives the track a heft and sense of grandeur not hinted at in the verse: an otherwise anonymous single is transformed into a tender thought piece (a slight vocal modulation, the sneaky high note that concludes the somber chorus, proves particularly effective).
“Die Young” won’t blow your socks off by any means, but it might just win a place in your heart.