Only Swallow ~ S.F

SFA clammy Floridian heat mingles with a spell of warm rain, the Orlando droplets as lucid as a pair of clear, grey eyes, bringing a gentle melancholy to the music as the rain begins to water the grass. An ultra-bright, ultra-white synth accompanies the rain and illuminates a young boy’s tragic recollection of a terrible accident.

Like rain, the ensuing piano washes away the troubling memory, cleansing and purifying the air after a humid day, but towards the end of the second track, an overdriven static takes command of the situation. Its sacrilegious assault is brief and quickly over, and it’s a nauseating change of pace; it’s the musical equivalent of a panic attack, continuing to rear its ugly head years after the event.

Intermittent synths sit behind strobes of light. The synths of “Cloudy Pink” are as light as fluffy clouds. A piano’s melody leaks from the music, spilling out of the synth’s cloud like a light dabbling of rain, falling beside the breezy, midsummer synths. The chiming, crystalline textures are at times reminiscent of Vaporwave and its outdated, VHS-warping, but S.F has a fresher ear. Residing closer to the Atlantic shore, it’s splashed with the warm, contented glow of coastal sunshine. The swampy tones of “Semper” head south to the Everglades. Slightly murky, clammy and undulating synths bob dangerously as the black, dead eyes of an alligator break the surface of the water. Eventually, the rippling tone melts.

“Night We Met” projects a colorful, bright image which flashes sporadically, growing stronger as the daylight fades. Shiny neon displays take the place of the sun. The romanticized music speeds past at quite a lick until it eventually slows down and fizzles out. The looping melody recycles itself. All of a sudden, we’re back where we started, watching the rain as it runs down the glass; the same synth progression, the same boy. ‘You always loved the rain’, the young boy says. Distance brings the two closer, the letter of the music linking the two, and through the music you can feel the droplets dampening the skin. You can feel the healing. (James Catchpole)


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