Killer beats, a dreamy, atmospheric sound, and artfully orchestrated introspection…

Catching Flies has finally come through with his debut album, ‘Silver Linings’.  Released via Indigo Soul, the dreamy, atmospheric 10-track strikes a balance between Bibio and Vancouver Sleep Clinic, and definitely fulfils his dream of making something “positive, hopeful, and colourful”.  

As the listener might imagine from his previous singles, ‘Silver Linings’ is just as light, airy, and wistful, and draws from a wide-ranging palette of influences (jazz, soul, hip-hop, house and electronica) that give much of the album its breadth.

The album has a little difficulty establishing itself— it’s almost as if it wants to be an ambient album (as evidenced by the first two tracks), but also longs to be a hip-hop inspired album, with ambient beats as its backing track. 'New Gods' lights up the track list, looping together the R&B inspired vocals of London’s own Jay Prince and Oscar Jerome, with a beautifully meditative beat.

That previous assumption drops off after this third song, however, as it returns to being an album purely of atmosphere. ‘She Goes Out Of Focus’ is another remarkable one; the steady ebb and flow of the track as it builds itself up and breaks itself down makes it stand out just a little more than the rest. ‘Silver Linings’ and ‘Satisfied’ make clever use of the space between the vocoder and drum backbeat, creating a 3D piece that is equal parts introspective as it is melodic.

But while the artfully orchestrated introspection is the project’s biggest selling point, it also draws attention to the record’s flaws. Barring ‘New Gods’ and ‘She Goes Out Of Focus’, the release as a whole lacks a build-up (or release) of tension, and veers towards the monotonous by the seventh or eighth track.

On repeat listens, some songs start blending too deeply into each other to be redeemed by the occasional switch-up (‘Satisfied’), or the complete tonal change introduced in ‘Z’.  While tracks like ‘Opals’ and ‘Komorebi’– laden with distant vocals and warm synths – sound bright and shimmery on their own, they lose some of their zeal among other tracks that sound a little too similar. 

With killer beats and a dreamy, atmospheric sound, though, Catching Flies definitely has something great bubbling here, and mixing his works up with more tracks like ‘New Gods’ would help the softer, more ambient ones stand out, propelling his work even further in the future. 

7/10

Words: Valerie Magan

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