Canadian duo Electric Youth have returned with “The Life,” their fantastic, game-changing new single off forthcoming album Memory Emotion. The song’s official release is May 31, but the video hit today, which gives you the opportunity to take it all in before you buy/stream it. (Pre-save it here.)
For Vehlinggo readers, the duo of Austin Garrick and Bronwyn Griffin need no introduction; but let’s just do a quick overview anyway. There is, of course, their work with David “College” Grellier (“A Real Hero” on the Drive soundtrack and 2014 debut Innerworld and “She Never Came Back” on Secret Diary). It goes without saying that Innerworld is a masterpiece. Then there’s their lost soundtrack, Breathing, a profoundly engaging work of art. (The links preceding all lead to interviews with Electric Youth.) There are also collaborations, including “Forever” with French Touch star Gesaffelstein.
“The Life” finds Austin and Bronwyn building on their electronic, synthesizer-informed sound, expanding the more introspective Innerworld into something bigger in scope and more externally focused. (Outerworld, indeed!)
The song kicks off with a faster momentum than we’ve typically heard from the duo in the past. Without a breath, the listener is instantly brought apace. The rhythm section provides us with the propulsion to reach the stars, and the celestial synths and Bronwyn’s enchanting vocals await us with open arms. The arrangement on top of the rhythm section ebbs and flows like massive waves of energy in a deep exchange between Electric Youth and the listener.
Electric Youth’s music has often felt cinematic, whether it was actually in a film or other visual medium. Some of their songs, especially “A Real Hero,” have deep associations with film. However, “The Life” sees them shedding that a bit. With the creation of Breathing and their work underway on another Anthony Scott Burns film score, it’s clear that they have forged a bifurcation of their art: one channel for their compelling scores and another for structured and well-written pop songs.
What that leaves us with is something rather extraordinary in “The Life” — a synth-pop pocket symphony composed of the kind of maximal alchemy that Brian Wilson used to conjure in those storied LA studios in the 1960s. The expansive scope of vision, paired with a richly-layered array of synthesizer parts, yields a beautifully captivating song that soars along in intricate movements as Bronwyn’s vocals lament a person who’s too busy caught up in their own narcissism to engage with the world in a meaningful way. This is all of us in some ways — too busy focused on ourselves to realize we’re all part of something.
To me, Austin and Bronwyn are making a noteworthy statement with this song: they have a new direction and a new outlook and aren’t content to be stuck making the same songs. We should shake off our tendency toward the retrospective and join them.
“The Life” comes via by Watts Arcade, Inc./Last Gang Records, which will release Memory Emotion on Aug. 9. If you’re in the NYC area, you’re going to want to get in on this Brooklyn show on Aug. 17 — tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Eastern on May 31. A full tour kicks off in 2020.
‘Electric Youth – Memory Emotion’ Tracklist
Here’s what Austin had to say about “The Life,” according to a press release: “Memory Emotion is much more outer-world, an album focused on the external world we live in and the way in which we interact with the world as a result of the emotions attached to our memories. Innerworld was finding that sense of self, developing and establishing a viewpoint, and Memory Emotion is us taking that viewpoint with us out into the world. “The Life” encapsulates the spectrum of that experience, from the dark to the light, the birth and rebirth, the destruction, degeneration and regeneration of living things on our planet, the home to all greedy megalomaniacs and generous martyrs alike. There really is a strong link between music and memory and emotion, and Memory Emotion is what we came up with for that link.”
01 “The Life”
04 “Real Ones”
05 “On My Own”
08 “Evergreen 143″
09 “Now Now”
10 “Through the same eyes”
11 “Memory Emotion (Outro)”
Feature Photo: “The Life” cover by Anthony Scott Burns.