It’s been a while since I first discovered this band on YouTube and found myself immediately disappointed the hits on the videos were so low, most under 10k. More recently, Sabzi’s Made in Heights went on a 14 stop tour and released a new album, and I was pleasantly surprised to find them on Apple Music along with an album of instrumentals because this music could definitely use more exposure. I’m reminded of the phrase “speak softly and carry a big stick,” there’s a darkness looming over most of the songs, it’s perfectly held in balance by an angelic voice and optimistic lyrics like “stars lighting up the sky telling me that everything will be alright.” Made in Heights’ debut album opens with Skylark Interabang?! playing a delicate melody on piano as Kelsey Bulkin sings “I didn’t mean to get so carried away.” The melody may sound familiar to Sufjan Stevens fans, it’s a direct sample of Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois. The verses skip once the heavy horns start up, playing off an anxiety in the words, and the ending taking its time definitely satisfies. Kels finds some strength in her voice next on All the Places, lyrics like “in the city all the voices, bold and busy is my type” reflect this new confidence. Wildflowers (Exhale Efreet) sounded classy to me, the xylophone keys work well with the soft bass, the darkness is ever present here: “we just gotta make it home before the goblins take the night.” Viices is a beautiful song, synth and a compulsive percussion marry for a peaceful melody. Though the chorus is softly sung, there’s a boldness to Kels’ voice: “got an angel sleeping in my pocket, wrapped around my finger, picture in my locket. Read his mind ’cause baby I’m a psychic, we ride every night through every light because we like it. See the future drivin’ in my rocket, fly to other galaxies, stimulate our eyelids. Enjoy the ride now baby, I’m the pilot, hear the engine revvin’, all the demons, they survive it.” Marguerite opens next with the lyrics “watching planes on golden afternoons, and Saturn’s floating moons rising over the interstate.” Unmistakably a love song, reflecting moments like “you are my clock, you’re my favorite part of waking up,” over dreamy pads and light kicks. The repeated chorus of “sing to me” gives weight to the words and the extended outro gives meaning to the line “feel the weight of the world falling slowly.” The album soon ends with Holla Mears over a siren, there’s a mellow snapping percussion while Sabzi finds all the right strings to pluck, I feel like we’re ending on a sad note however, lyrics like “when you call I’m everything you need, and when I needed you, where were you then?” and “to say the things I feel, you know it’s hard for me, to show the words and let them grow into the spree and bring you back, open my notes so patiently,” remind me these songs may be optimistic, but it’s built on an overarching sadness, a sort of nothing between melancholy and apathy, captured in a soundscape of piano keys, heavy bass synth, and a delicate voice. In spite of the electronic environment, Kels manages to keep everything grounded with a sense of humanity through her singing. I highly recommend a listen.
2013 / 34:00
Added to Playlist:
Skylark Interabang?!: Electro + Pop
All the Places: Electro + Pop
Viices: High Times