Twenty seconds into ‘The Drive’, the new track by Skyler Cocco, my daughter and I looked at each other and said “Haim”. By thirty seconds, I already knew how this review would go. The vocals and the arrangement had me hooked.
Under some circumstances, the comparison to another artist may suggest that a track lacks originality. In this instance this is not the case. Haim delivered one of the finest albums of 2020 with Women in Music Pt III due to the almost genre warping talent they have.
‘The Drive’ has a vibe that would feel so comfortable on that album. This track draws you in with a constant percussive beat and an effortless synth rhythm that rises and falls throughout the track to underpin the emotional waves of the vocals. The vocals are dreamy and hazy and perfectly suited to the ambience of the song.
The music of Skyler Cocco is new to me but the New York based artist, songwriter and producer already has an album under her belt, 2017’s Reverie. She writes, mixes and performs all her own tracks and plays guitar, bass guitar and piano. ‘The Drive’ has interesting origins, having started out as a started out as a demo built on a guitar sample from electro-pop trio MUNA’s Splice “World Saving Sample Pack.” She submitted a barebones demo to a competition run by Splice and it was chosen as a standout track. Cocco decided to refine it to be her next single.
The track itself is based on reflection. “It’s the cool-down period after a fight, where you take some space to really let your own words resonate and see where you were wrong in a situation,” explains Cocco. “I really wanted to write a love song that felt vulnerable”
In the midst of a pandemic, you want music to make you feel something. You want the sound to transport you somewhere. I listened to this track over and over as Autumn rain lashed against the window pane. Again and again, I was swept away as “I took a drive on interstate 95”. The changing patterns of the dappled evening sunshine as I drove along mimicked the gentle rises and falls in the track, the subtle shifts in the vocals. As the percussive beat ticks away to blackness and images of summer fade I am left with the echoes of one of 2020’s finest tracks.
Words by Andrew Butcher
Check out Andrew’s blog here.
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