Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Listen: Sur Back - "Valentino"

photo by Frank Corr
It's been awhile since we've heard from Jupiter, Florida based singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer Caroline Sans' Sur Back project. Since the release of her debut EP Kitsch back in the summer of 2016, she's been hard at work on a follow up as well as relocating to Brooklyn. New single "Valentino" is a least a taste of what Sans' has been cooking up in her nearly two years away and it's appropriately lush. From its forceful crescendo to its pizzicato string entrance, Sans' has her sights set on a decadent sense of drama that's as luxurious as its title suggests. That's hardly a surprise, considering Sans wrote it with fashion shows in mind. "Valentino" is her offering to the intersection between fashion and pop music that's been popularized by everyone from Lady Gaga to indie stalwarts Bjork and St. Vincent. A score to imaginary fashion show, it manages to fit into the often strange, poised world of high fashion while also setting itself apart from it both lyrically and compositionally.

Sans' production is a delicate mixture of orchestral lushness with strings and brass, cacophonous percussion, and her trademark svelte vocals. It's wonderfully theatrical in its sense of unpredictability as it sways with steely-eyed confidence on its haunches with a dangerous unease. "Valentino" is the soundtrack for a bad ass femme fatale, disarming with an intoxicating rush of sounds before revealing its hand in a series of deft sleight-of-hand counter maneuvers. Sans' deploys her guitar as a weapon, agitating the smoothness of her vocal lines, and the innate delicateness of strings into harsh spikes in sound. "Valentino, I don't want your love" Sans coos and it's a line whose impact is amplified both by its casual delivery and as the offered balm to surrounding abrasiveness.

Sans proved herself a talented producer on her on standalone single "Jane Eyre" as well as her versatile debut Kitsch and "Valentino" displays more of her winsome skills in spades as she creates a track with such a strong extrasensory ability. "Valentino" is an aural rendering of opulence, conjuring up much like "Kitsch", bold reds and fine silks but also the barely concealed darkness that seems to exist under facades of class. It's a strong effort that provides a dazzling reintroduction to Sans' Sur Back. Here's hoping its not too long before Sans returns with more.


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