The debut collaborative project from electronic producers ODESZA and Golden Features takes the most boring aspects of both respective artists to create a drab and uninspired record.
By Gavin Majeski
It has been a few years since either ODESZA or Golden Features have released a full length project, and now in 2020 we are greeted with one that’ll make listeners wish the two stayed far away from one another.
“BRONSON” as a record is constantly stuck between a rock and a hard place. The record is never sure whether or not it wants to embody the uplifting, drum intensive and vocally accompanied tracks of ODESZA, or the futuristic and dark synth grooves of Golden Features. Instead, it tries to hit both nails on the head and fails to succeed unless one of the two artists takes complete influence over a particular track.
The record does itself no favors with the opener, “FOUNDATION,” which incrementally builds into an underwhelming payoff that transitions smoothly into the next track, “HEART ATTACK.”
“HEART ATTACK” gives listeners a taste of the album’s biggest grievance: consistent, poor attempts at creating catchy EDM hits that feature generic production and run-of-the-mill vocal features. While this mainstream electronic music trope can work when done with impressive production that features lush, unique textures and samples, that is not the case on “BRONSON.”
“KNOW ME,” “CALL OUT” and “DAWN” all suffer from the same fate as “HEART ATTACK,” with “DAWN” dragging on for almost eight painstaking minutes that consists of repetitive vocals and an anticlimactic finish to the record.
While the biggest discrepancies with the album come from its bland instrumentals and vocal performances, the record still features some highlights. The only issue with these notable tracks is that they are completely devoid of anything similar to ODESZA and would have been better off placed onto the next Golden Features solo project.
“VAULTS'' contains nice, punchy drums, warped synths and deconstructed metal claps. The following track, “TENSE,” is the most experimental cut on the record, with its heavy bass, claps and digitized samples that get progressively more bit-crushed as the song continues.
“CONTACT” is a groovy and fast-paced, synth-heavy tune that feels like it would be the perfect song to listen to when driving on the highway at two in the morning. The end of the track features great use of crash cymbals and a unique breakdown instead of the usual slow fade out that is featured on the majority of previous songs.
We then reach “KEEP MOVING,” the clear winner when it comes to standout tracks. The song features the best drop on the record, ominous, distorted vocal samples and fantastic digitized synths that feel like you’re listening to the soundtrack to a high speed light cycle race from the film Tron: Legacy. Even with a few decent to strong songs, the highs of the album cannot compare to the overwhelming number of lows.
“BRONSON” is an album that doesn’t know its place in the mainstream electronic music landscape, and because of this identity crisis there are few songs that stand out in any way.
Favorite Tracks: VAULTS, TENSE, CONTACT, KEEP MOVING