The origami swan on the cover of Andrew Bayer’s sophomore full-length, If It Were You, We’d Never Leave, is the perfect physical manifestation of the producer’s aesthetic: utilize simple tools to create complex, emotionally powerful movements. Calling both Brooklyn and London home, Bayer’s underlying instrumentals defiantly lack the grimy urban facade associated with either locale. Instead, the album’s 13 tracks reflect the downtempo vibes of England’s coastal city of Dover or America’s great Northwest. No matter the location, this is the work of a producer exploring his own personal solitude as titles like “Doomsday”, “Need Your Love”, and “Soul Cry” suggest.
While the latter finds Bayer alone at his production console, crafting his own brand of euphoric glitch-hop, it’s the interpersonal relationships between Bayer and the album’s guest female vocalists that lead to the deepest visceral connections. Initially reminiscent of beachside anthems by pop-songwriters Cobbie Caillat and Justin Nozuka, Bayer drops his guard during “Lose Sight” (feat. Ane Brun) and fuses subtle acoustic instrumentation with glitch and bubbling synths for a delicate and delectable springtime concoction. This silky production flows though the purposeful radio static at the onset of “You Are” featuring The Weepies’ Deb Talan. Known for her folk-pop stylings, Talan adds a tangible base to the surreal, dreamy qualities of the track.
As the haze dissipates, despair swallows “Gaff’s Eulogy”. Void of lyrics, the track falls deeper into a well of depression, complete with minimal harpsichord runs, until the warmth of distance bird calls attest that light exists even at the end of the darkest tunnel.
If It Were You, We’d Never Leave may be built on the ethereal synths that populate the work of Anjunadeep label bosses Above and Beyond, but this is an album you repeatedly pull to ease personal hardship not spark dancefloor undulations.
Essential Tracks: “Lose Sight”, “Gaff’s Eulogy”, and “Soul Cry”