I can’t emphasise enough how well Los Angeles-based artist shallou named his debut album ‘Magical Thinking’. Even though every track has its own melody and story to tell, gentle atmospherics connect every element together to create an album that flows so organically, you could listen to it on repeat for hours and still feel utterly enchanted.
As soon as you hit play, light synths dance over the sound of rushing water and suddenly, the first few bars of ‘Mutual Love’ burst out from the quiet samples like sunbeams. ’Mutual Love’ feels warm and tropical, thanks to hollow vocals and vibrant synths. The thing that really brings this track home though, is its simplicity. Only a few small elements – like a light beat, breathy synths and the vocal stylings of Zachary Knowles – come together to create a track that feels so fresh and well as heartfelt. ‘Technicolour Wave’ definitely lives up to its name. Even in the first few bars, the dappled synths feel vibrant and when blended with Erika Sirola’s vocals, your mind fills with rainbows. If that sounds strange, I’m sorry, but that’s just what happens when I listen to it. ‘Make Believe’ is a great track for a late-night groove. It’s dark and velveteen, but it’s also energetic – a bit of a unique track on the album as every other song has a slower tempo. Another stand out track on the album is ‘Endless’, mainly because it feels so balanced. The vocals (provided by The Knocks), the piano track, subtle strings and airy synths just compliment each other so well. It’s effortlessly fun!
Now, I may bias, but ’Silhouettes’ may be the best track on the album. Is it because the ethereal vocals come from Brisbane’s own Vancouver Sleep Clinic? Because the whimsical melody fills me with joy? Or because the production is so intricate and precise that the whole thing just feels so on point, it’s a wonder why it’s not being played absolutely everywhere all time? Everything about it just feels right. It uplifting and just makes me feel hopeful and I’m sure it’ll make you feel that way too.
I could go on and on about this album (and if you were sitting in front of me right now, I wouldn’t be able to shut up about it), but to really experience it, you need to sit down, be still and allow yourself to get lost in it. ‘Magical Thinking’ is a gorgeous album, it’s somewhere you can escape to and let yourself fall deep into its cooling atmosphere. Shallou has put together a collection of songs that feels like a refreshing pool of sound you want to immerse yourself in for hours. It really is magical.