Thursday, January 25, 2018

Listen: Sur Back - "Anyone Else"

photo by Cate Sans
Caroline Sans, the self-taught musician and producer behind Sur Back, has made much of her young career a balancing act not only between musical realms - the sumptuousness of classical paired with the abrasiveness of rock but also the quiet subversion of expectations in both song composition and lyrical content that she's a particular hard subject to pin down to specific labels. There's no denying that her sound is beguilingly unique. From the fuzzed-out guitars or stuttering beats of "Trophy Daughter" and "Pastel" to the orchestral sweeps of "Kitsch" and "Valentino", Sans has managed to display a dynamic sense of versatility, carving out a varied style all her own that doesn't sacrifice cohesiveness. 

"Anyone Else", the second single from Sur Back's upcoming follow up EP Kitsch II, finds Sans at her most delicate and yet, her most ambitious. One of her first ever songs when she first began her Sur Back project after moving from Palm Spring Gardens to Jupiter, Florida, "Anyone Else" is perhaps the song that's undergone the most drastic update going from a solo guitar ballad to all out compositional masterwork that sees Sans effortlessly interweaving strings with gently pulsing synths to create additional layers of harmonic consonance and textural depth.

 While "Valentino" swayed between powerful brass and ornate strings with bombastic percussion and jagged guitars, "Anyone Else" leans full tilt into Sans' symphonic sensibilities. While Sans has never shied away from the subject of desire (take the sighing "Occam's Razor" or the sultry whisper of "Kitsch") "Anyone Else" stands out for being perhaps the most reverent of it. "Anyone Else" is a love song, full of idyllic splendor as its orchestral lushness instantly recalls a pastoral picnic sojourn away from the noise of the busy city. The first part of a multi-movement work she split between this track and it's successor "Providence", is a tenderhearted exploration of the effervescence of a pure, genuine love. 

Despite its compositional complexity, it's a work of remarkably subtler production as Sans allows her arrangements and her own featherweight voice to do much of the work in lieu of her normal proclivities for contrast. It's most winsome moments lie in its softness, in its wholehearted embrace of the delicate, often fleeting nature of those little epiphanic moments - the way the light catches their eye or the wind their hair that have you convinced you couldn't love a person anymore. Sans elevates these seemingly tiny instances to magic moments of grandeur and awe even engaging in her natural dramatic flair with an attention grabbing grand pause.

With each release, Sans provides evermore reasons to fall in love with her distinct brand of angular but lush experimental pop and "Anyone Else" is no exception. While recalling the supple pastels of Kitsch, it still adds a new dimension to Sur Back as a producer/composer/arrange capable of conjuring moments of endearing gentleness. It's an absolutely thrilling reveal and one that I'm sure Sans is sure to expound on in ways that'll surprise. Until that moment, "Anyone Else" does that plenty. 

Kitsch II, the sophomore EP from Sur Back is out February 23rd.

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