Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Dynamic Duo in Indie Pop have distinct and emotional sounds

Posted on April 19, 2016 in Arts & Culture, Music
By Krysteana Scribner

Over the course of 2014, indie pop artists Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht recorded and released one song per month. The end result, the album “Oh Wonder,” properly named after the dynamic duo themselves, has 15 original songs that encompass a soft electro-pop vibe that is great to listen to during downtime, study sessions or while you’re trying to fall asleep.

One of their more popular songs, “Technicolor Beat,” has a breathy synth-pop feel to it, as the two harmonize in octaves that allows their voices to be distinct, yet beautifully intertwined. This song talks about being in love with someone, feeling that their movements and personality is so similar to yours that you move in a “Technicolor Beat.” Listening to this particular song feels like being lost in a haze, where emotions and realistic thinking are lost in translation.

The synthesizing melody allows the listener to feel entranced, singing, “And I feel life for the very first time / Love in my arms and the sun in my eyes / I feel safe in the 5 a.m. light / You carry my fears as the heavens set fire.” They sing in perfect tranquility, with their lyrics echoing through my memories like poetry.

Another song, “Without You,” starts with a smooth, repetitive piano intro, while other instruments slowly emerge in the background: maracas, the slight snap of a snare drum, all of which progress into a expanding synthesized hum, which expands and compresses like a deep breath. This song explores the theme of being single and wanting to be back with your former significant other. Yet West and Gucht have successfully made it an upbeat, feel-good song.

When their voices come into play, their inevitable harmonizing skills sway my eardrums like a sailboat out at sea. They sing, “Come back into the good life / Lose these hazy love lies / I’ve been chasing my mind / Lonely in the cold nights / Cause I’m kicking up stones without you.”

Although most of their songs have a steady, upbeat feel to them, the song “All We Do” encompasses a more melancholic tone, where the two singers harmonize, “All we do is hide away / All we do is chase the day.” They follow up with a chorus just as sorrowful, writing, …I’ve been upside down / I don’t wanna be the right way round / Can’t find paradise on the ground.” The song is introduced by  the duo’s customary soothing, repetitive piano progression, and it isn’t until halfway through the song that a strong and powerful beat is found, only to disappear when the vocals return.

Overall, I highly suggest listening to any song on “Oh Wonder,” particularly if you’re feeling melancholic, overwhelmed, or are simply relaxing and soaking in your own thoughts. West’s and Gucht’s music has the ability to sway me into feeling positive, even when their vocals tell a different tale.


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