By: Jeremy Scott
Far too often, up and coming bands will release albums that sound as if the band only put their all into one or two of the songs in the hopes of a hit, while the rest of the album is just filler. Such is not the case with Orlando’s SALES new album, “forever & ever”. It is evident from the first playthrough how much time and energy Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih put into each of the tracks. All of the songs are rich with creativity and inspiration with none of them feeling forced.
The most striking element of “forever & ever” is how Morgan’s voice works so well with Shih’s guitar melodies. Shih utilizes minimalistic arpeggios that build a solid melodic foundation from which Morgan’s vocals can soar. Morgan’s voice is haunting and unique, reminiscent of the melodicism of Sheryl Crow blended with the vibrant high notes of Kate Bush. Throughout the album, Morgan’s performance is simultaneously demure, yet powerful, resonant and yet, ethereal.
From track to track, SALES shifts seamlessly through several styles and genre influences in a way that is both subtle and radical. SALES carve out their own sound that is unencumbered by convention in a way that will undoubtedly frustrate any music streaming service’s attempts to fit the songs off “forever & ever” into a prescribed algorithm. “Spiral” and “Off and On” could fit in with a 2000’s and contemporary indie playlist, while “You Look Well” could be on one of those 24/7 chillwave streams, yet “A to B” and “Talk a Lot” have undeniable hip-hop influences characteristic of artists like M.I.A. That being said, once you have heard SALES, there is no denying that any of the tracks are anything but uniquely theirs. Genre distinctions, it seems, are becoming more and more arbitrary and blurred now that music is being made by the generation that was raised with an ostensibly infinite variety of potential influences available at their fingertips.
With “forever & ever”, SALES captures what makes independent music so special and beloved by those who listen to it. Morgan and Shih share a tangible musical chemistry and I am thankful that they are unfettered from creative pressures so that they can subvert convention in favor of originality. Like an endangered species, SALES is beautifully unique and should be supported so that they may continue thriving in the environment that has allowed them to make their music.