Review Summary: More effective than a roaring fire for bringing warmth to your wintry days.
There are few things in the digitized, quantized world of electronic music more refreshing than a relatable human touch. Breaking down the process of the composition is unnecessary – it doesn't matter if a work is created with software synthesis or live instrumentation, so long as the heart and soul of the producer comes through.
On paper, a track like “Looking Forward To You” is a fairly straightforward – almost basic – house tune. Standard percussion arrangement, groovy bassline, repeated synth melodies, and smooth dialogue draped over all of it. There's a special talent in being able to create a dense, complex song with layers upon layers of sounds stacked on top of each other without anything sounding redundant or unnecessary. There's also a special talent in being able to create something relatively bare-bones that works flawlessly without loading the mix full of sound. Even the simplest elements here have been absolutely perfected – from the way the slinking bassline of “Looking Forward to You” seems to hang onto its notes just slightly longer than expected, to the addition of an open hi-hat partway into “Something (On My Mind)” that gives it just a slight edge of momentum that kicks it fully into its tasteful stride.
This is the soundtrack to a perfect breezy summer; days spent on the beach, smiling ear-to-ear. Everything here is so vividly full of warmth and character, but “Something (On My Mind)” deserves special mention for how powerfully evocative it is. Once again punctuated by infectious rhythms from the natural percussion and a soulful bassline, its full potency comes from the smoothness with which the heartwarming melodies ease in and out of the track. The lo-fi synths are captivating on their own, but layering them underneath the softly crooning saxophone makes for such a natural, blissful vibe that demands to be felt as much as heard. It's a song that's at once both disarmingly soothing and undeniably moving – physically and emotionally. It's the best track on the best release of 2014, and it's a perfect record.