Review Summary: 21 year old Harley Stretan comes out of no where to release an amazing collection of songs that compliment each other perfectly in order to create a unique amazing chill-out album like no other.
After weeks of seeing indie kids on Facebook and Instagram rave on about this mysterious Flume character, it took me a while to figure out that he was some kind of electronic artist, though after the first week or two of his song Sleepless getting popular, more and more people seemed to be excitedly anticipating this album, even people into weirder and more obscure music. After a while I had to check out this guy to see what all this hype was about, half expecting this guy to be absolutely horrible and a serious letdown, as this is what hype usually does to music, however upon hearing the first minute of of Sleepless, I cast all hype aside and realized that every ounce of anticipation was completely necessary for an album like this.
21 year old Harley Stretan comes from Sydney, and under the alias 'Flume' brings about a unique electronic sound which utilizes various other genres of music such hip-hop, soul and alternative/indie. Featuring vocalists like 23 year old Melbournian indie artist Chet Faker, singer/model Jezzabell Doran, rapper T.Shirt and many more, Flume's debut album boasts 15 tracks in total, each track being distinctively different, yet simultaneously similar to all others. By doing this, Stretan is able to construct a collective that promotes amazing consistency, that can be listened to in any mood, e.g. I can listen to this album while having some drinks with some friends, I can listen to this music in a club, I can listen to it when eating dinner or I can sit down and listen to this album and musically notice the interesting musical things Stretan is able to do. To me, and most people who like it, this is seriously the ultimate summer album that just makes those warm, blue skied, brightly light days, so much more enjoyable.
One of the amazing things about Flume is the way he creates his vocal parts. Often at times Stretan manipulates the vocal lines in his songs to electronically sound more rhythmic, or like other instruments entirely, such as in 'Stay Close' where he is able to change the vocal line into a saxophone like sound before making it return to it's original melody. Often drastic pitch changes to these vocals keep the songs more interesting and non repetitive, such as in the opening track 'Sintra' where the songs lyrics say the same line over and over again, but the pitch keep changes at random times to make the melody new every time you hear it. This allows the song to be sung along to easily despite the fact that people can't clearly make out the lyrics. I'm not joking when i say this, but these vocal lines are so loved by fans that when i'm around people and a Flume song comes on, people will just sing these vocal parts without even knowing the words, only because they like the songs that much.
Another great thing about these tracks, is the unique synth sounds that Flume creates to give this album the chill, relaxed mood that it has. These exist as really low, cloudy sounding noises like in 'Insane', in high pitched vocal like bouncing parts in tracks like 'Sintra' or in his well known mid pitched bright sounding synths used in tracks like 'Holdin On' and 'Sleepless',
Overall I like this album despite how a lot of songs sound overly similar, simply because this makes the tracks flow well together. One thing though I don't like about this album is the way it has caused people to ignore other artists of this genre by labeling Stretan's music as it's own self titled genre called 'Flume Step'. This seems a bit over the top to me, as there are many similar artists out there like Draper, Washed Out and Tori Y Moi, all of which to me are chill-wave, a genre I similarly categorize Flume into. I urge fans of Flume to check out these artists and spread the love of this great relaxing music.
I rate this album very highly, my main problem only being that there are a few short songs, less than three minutes, which while good, seem to be just filler songs on the album that sound like mixtures of other tracks. This is annoying, as with 15 songs on the album, it doesn't seem like Stretan is desperate to fill time, but this is really only a small concern and shouldn't detract readers from enjoying this great album. I highly recommend this, even to people who aren't into dance or indie music, it is the perfect summer chill album and can make most days that little bit better.
- Stay Close
- Left Alone
- Holdin On