Crowd Shy is Salt Lake City’s Jordan Watko, and while he’s largely underplayed I think it’s time you guys started paying attention. His debut record, Begin to Understand, is a perfectly symmetrical conjugation of many of my favorite genres. From R&B to Dream Pop, Chillwave to 90s Garage Rock, it’s like Sky Ferreira’s indie little brother who inadvertently outshines his older sister.
Tomorrow Will Be Different has some interesting contrasts- at times the vocals verge on Owl City (please god no), before being affected more delectably, and layered over a sophisticated and sexy R&B beat, glowing synth doplets, and grizzly bass lines.
My favorite track, Find Myself, has an almost 90s anthemic pop rock verse and chorus except filtered and split so much it becomes a microcosm of avant garde production. The dreamy synths and chillwave bass are perfect; a melody this relatable has to be this twisted and layered; the perfect amount of distortion allows it to grow, and glow.
Not As It Seemed could hold its own with M83, Cut Copy or Phantogram, again employing a fantastic melody and songwriting with a darker pop orchestration. I wonder if the small blip sound at 1:15 is Watko accidentally recording a volume adjustment on his mac though… (ah the perils of bedroom production).
Other standout tracks: Let It Out, Can’t Take It, See You Now.
Watko clearly has a knack for creating awesome synth lines and amazing beats. I’m still asking myself, how has this not blown up? Thank god Watko is crowd shy enough to lock himself in the basement and create this- It’s better than so much of what’s been getting passed around lately. Buy this album, it’s worth it.
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