With a bassline as fat as what we get in the lush lo-fi single “Dancing in an Empty Room” from Sp8ce Owl, it’s easy for listeners to halfway expect an enormous trap beat to come swinging into focus by the fifteen-second mark in the song, but this is not to be. “Dancing in an Empty Room” showcases a much more surreal soundscape created around the conceptualism of a singular synth melody, and while it’s on the avant-garde side of the pop spectrum for sure, it isn’t so far removed from the mainstream as to repel the interest of casual listeners.
Visually speaking, the video for “Dancing in an Empty Room” is as psychedelic an experience as the song is on its own, and I don’t think it distracts from the core narrative of the piece at all. If anything, the imagery is quite complimentary of what the music implies out of the gate and works to advance some of the moodiness of these beats to the audience in a way that typical linguistics or stock videography would have failed to. Sp8ce Owl is deep underground, but they’ve got mainstream ambitiousness like crazy in this spirited new performance.
Just a hint of noise on the bottom-end makes the melodic faceting in this track even more enrapturing than it would have been, and I like that this act wasn’t holding back in affording us a little grit in the master mix. Contrast has become the most overused element within alternative music in the past year, but this is a scenario in which I can’t really argue with how it is being used, both because I like the cosmetics of it and I like the willingness of Sp8ce Owl to break away with a trending concept just to make it their own.
There’s nothing cheap about the murky aesthetics that are shadowing every move the beat could make in “Dancing in an Empty Room,” and I would assume that the biggest influence over their appearance here is rooted within synthwave and the dark lo-fi movement. The brilliance of the gothic undertow in this single matching up with the pop swing of the groove is absolutely spellbinding all by itself, but when packaged with the complete content you’re going to hear when playing this track, it’s going to leave an impression that isn’t accounted for by any of the critics singing Sp8ce Owl’s praise right now.
I really like this song and what it’s doing for Sp8ce Owl’s career at the moment, and from the looks of it, I don’t believe it’s going to be the last notable single that they release to the interest of critics and fans around the planet. There’s a lot to be made of the push towards a more surreal sound in pop music, and if you needed proof that trends can produce remarkable content on either side of the dial, “Dancing in an Empty Room” has got you covered and then some. This is college radio ambiance on overdrive, and it’s worthy of more buzz than it’s getting.
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