A few months ago, in the early weeks of quarantine, Sylvan Esso, the folksy Durham electro-pop duo of Mountain Man’s Amelia Meath and Megafaun’s Nick Sanborn, released the concert film and documentary WITH. This was good news, especially when you consider that this band absolutely goes off live. But one thing that Sylvan Esso haven’t done in a while is release new music. It’s been more than three years since Sylvan Esso dropped the sophomore LP What Now, and it’s been more than two years since “PARAD(w/m)E,” their last proper stand-alone single. So it’s good news that there’s a new Sylvan Esso track out in the world.
Today, Sylvan Esso dropped a video for a mysterious new track called “What If.” It’s a brief and minimal track, just a minute and a half long, but it’s lovely. Over spacious synth-bleeps, Amelia Meath sings, “Oh life, dying out/ And the oceans turn to clouds.” The music slowly swells up behind her, but it never quite crests.
In the “What If” video, we see Meath singing as her head bobs in the ocean. The camera rises up over her until she’s just a small spot amidst nothingness. Check it out below.
“What If” isn’t on the streaming services, and the video has no further information, which would seem to suggest that this might be a teaser for some larger thing.