2011 was a year that in large part legitimized the rise of indie music, in all its eclectic forms. With Bon Iver topping Pitchfork and many others’ charts, 2011 marked an age led by low-fi acoustic folk recordings, accompanied by 80s-esque electronic renderings of several sorts. And there was nothing wrong with a lot of it, and some was even good! That being said, I felt a distinct lack of soul in too many instances.
Anyone that knows me already knows my definition of soul as something connected to duende and, as such, compels one dance. I firmly believe that a firm bass can reverberate from the feet through to the vertebrae in a way only its own. It brings out in one a want to move in a way 2011 generally was want of. Except for Theophilus London.
Each of the five-tracks on his 2011 EP Lovers Holiday have a sound so rich and full you don’t even need surround sound for it to envelope you. The warmth found here speaks for itself — and all this from London in spite of some very obvious indie influences! London has colossus clout with a coterie of artists, from indie-pop English songwriter/composer/producer Devonte Hynes to indie-rock/folk singer Sara Quinn (of Tegan and Sara) — both featured on the album.
London conforms (to an extent) to his contemporaries’ 80s vibe on several tracks, but they vibrate with a liveliness that engages the present. From the extravagant anthem banger “Wine and Chocolates,” to the beautifully tragic “Why Even Try,” to the synth-happy “Strange Love,” Lovers Holiday shows that London knows how to make music and its consumers move.
In the song featured above, Flying Overseas, London combines all the keys: a perfectly produced rich sound, a melody of chimes with a rumbling humming, well-timed synth, and angelic vocals provided by Solange Knowles, R&B-singing kid sister to Beyonce. Listen to this one next time you take off, whether or not its overseas, and see if it doesn’t move you — feet or elsewhere.