Sylvan Esso have announced the release of their third full-length album Free Love, to be released September 25 on Loma Vista Recordings, and shared the music video for new song “Ferris Wheel.” The new 10-song collection thrives on collaborative frisson. Wielding power in delicacy, the duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn push one another into new territories with shared assurance, resulting in the group’s finest work to date.
“We are thrilled to announce our third album, Free Love, will be out 9.25.20,” says Sylvan Esso.
“It’s a record about being increasingly terrified of the world around you and looking inward to remember all the times when loving other people seemed so easy, so that you can find your way back to that place.
This first single, Ferris Wheel, is about discovering your power and awkwardly figuring out how to wield it. It’s for the summer, it’s for you, we hope you like it.”
Watch the “Ferris Wheel” video – filmed during the pandemic at an abandoned amusement park – now below.
“At the heart of Sylvan Esso is this really fun argument,” says Amelia. “Nick wants things to sound unsettling, but I want you to take your shirt off and dance. We’re trying to make pop songs that aren’t on the radio, because they’re too weird. It’s a pop band, but we’re talking about complicated emotions.”
While their celebrated first two albums were born from a delineation in creative roles – Amelia the lyrics and melodies, Nick the chords and beats – Free Love is Sylvan Esso’s first true “band” record: two voices fused together. The album also represents, by turns, the duo’s hardest-driving (“Train,” “Numb”) and most meditative (“Rooftop Dancing,” “Free”) work yet as it unfolds over two distinct sides. It was written, recorded and produced at Sylvan Esso’s own studio, built in the woods in North Carolina after the release of 2017’s GRAMMY-nominated What Now.
Free Love wouldn’t exist without WITH – their tremendous fall 2019 tour that sold out NYC’s Beacon Theater twice, Disney Hall in Los Angeles twice, and hometown shows at Durham Performing Arts Center, also twice. The tour scrambled and expanded the idea of Sylvan Esso, presenting the group as a 10-piece ensemble, featuring members of Bon Iver, Wye Oak, Hiss Golden Messenger and others, exploring their repertoire in wholly new ways. Free Love was only half-written at that point, and it emboldened Nick and Amelia to double down on their creative impulses. WITH was released in April as a feature length live concert film and album. To celebrate the release, Sylvan Esso pushed the limits of remote performance with their version of “Rewind” for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, recorded an NPR Tiny Desk Concert (From Home) from their couch, and performed on one of the final episodes of Live From Here – all while in quarantine.
Sylvan Esso has produced some of indie pop’s most enduring songs in recent years and just achieved a career milestone by crossing a half billion streams worldwide. Their last album, 2017’s What Now, debuted in the Top 40 of the Billboard 200 and earned the group their first-ever Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic album. In a New York Times profile on the band, Jon Pareles noted that Sylvan Esso “keep electronic pop human.”