One of the things that makes a lot of music so good is that it is relatable. Songs that are overly ecstatic or dripping with despair, to me, are often less than enjoyable because such extreme, clear-cut emotions are unrealistic. Artists that make music that occupies the gray space in between unalloyed pleasure and complete hopelessness are able to convey a more relatable mixture of emotions, both lyrically and musically. Australian electro-duo Polographia, with the help of vocalist Winston Surfshirt, have hit the emotional sweet-spot with their new single “Sly,” a monstrously groovy retro jam. Starting off with quick bumps of synth and shimmering guitar patterns backed by heavy doses of tambourine and subtle kick drums, Polographia creates an atmospheric, old-school beach vibe. As the song matures, the percussion fills out, synth patterns become more complex, and auxiliary elements like steel drums are peppered in to taste.
Winston Surfshirt’s vocals are akin to Andrew VanWynGarden’s (lead singer of MGMT); they have a classic sound to them, the sonic equivalent of a pair of faded, but well-maintained jeans. He is able to sing across the spectrum, from almost-rapped, spoken word vocals, to gently melodic lines, to pure falsetto in the chorus. Speaking of which, the chorus of “Sly” is, without a doubt, of the catchiest in recent memory, its wavy guitar patterns, deep, bouncing synths, and simple percussion lining up perfectly with Winston Surfshirt’s impeccable falsetto and creating a calm energy that is impossible not to nod your head to. “Sly” is a perfect example of musical symbiosis; each of these musical acts are able to thrive due to the presence of the other. A match made in heaven.