ODESZA‘s In Return is a rather brilliant and spacious electronic album, and it’s been quite fortunate that they’ve made quite a few trips to the UK to play it (and Summer’s Gone) out. Unfortunately, I’ve always had an excuse, be it their Somerset House show with Chromeo falling on the day I leave the country or their October show at KOKO selling out after I spend too long deliberating whether to go, despite YouTube comments convincing me that I’d need to at some point. So, when they announced a gig five months on before that KOKO show even took place, I jumped on the presale and grabbed a cheap pair and spent months getting rather excited.
Of course, trying to plan a Thursday evening that far in advance is never possible, and it turned out that the Student Radio Conference would be taking place in Cardiff at the same time and, at Lovebox, I’d get the chance to see ODESZA live anyway. Rational people may have sold the tickets on or decided against the trip to Wales, but I am not rational people. In fairness, my journey was meticulously planned and only involved 9 hours of travel costing three times as much as the gig tickets and forgoing a paid-for night in a hotel for an hour flopped face down in my clothes back in university halls having arrived from a rail replacement bus at 2am. Then, I took a horribly early train back up to Cardiff for the final day of the radio festivities, and one of the two talks I’d returned for was cancelled and I ended up spending longer on that train than I did before getting on the minibus back from Cardiff, drowsily missing most of a New York Times Popcast episode on Gwen Stefani and cobbling together messy strands for a review that will hopefully be on The Edge later today.
Live performances, especially of electronic acts, are invariably strange experiences. Sometimes, your experiences of solitary enjoyment of tracks can be marred by oddities in how they are performed, or whether they are even performed at all. What I love about In Return is its steady flow and regulation between attitudes, such as the contrast of the bombastic ‘Bloom’ into the pretty ‘All We Need,’ yet the live show, as impressive as the review will illustrate, didn’t really pick up on these more tender moments. As a whole, much leaned towards the heavier sound of their new finale track, often misattributed as a ‘Make Me Feel Better’ remix due to its Marvin Gaye sample, which isn’t a gorgeous trip through space and time and emotion (and, in my case, clichés). It’s bland trap, inauspiciously similar to ‘Tell Me’ by RL Grime and What So Not.
Anyway, to prevent me from rambling on and this blurb becoming marred the whole train-wearying experience and subsequently making it seem like I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the entire last week, here’s ‘Light,’ the one new track that appeared on September’s deluxe rerelease of In Return, a softer and more emotional record featuring Little Dragon that couldn’t find its way into Troxy on that fabulous Thursday evening.