Brooklyn-based group San Fermin are continuing the eclectic, ambient trend so popular in today’s alternative music. What was once the brainchild of Yale music student, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, San Fermin has grown into a dazzling and unpredictable eight-man ensemble. Belong is the band’s third album, following in the footsteps of their critically acclaimed 2015 release, Jackrabbit. The New Yorkers bring their most cohesive, succinct songwriting to this new album, painting evocative pictures with a pop sensibility.
Belong, like San Fermin’s other work, builds on a continuous theme throughout the record. This album toes the line between anxiety and ecstasy exquisitely, finding resolve in waves of soothing energy. Charlene Kaye and Allen Tate voice these 13 tracks with earnest, raw power. The two vocalists emit a certain tension through their balanced collaboration, each artist approaching the songs with their own motivation and truth. Tate’s deep tone is comparable to that of Matt Berninger of the National, but not in a distractingly similar way. It feels familiar and warm in its melancholy, generating an ethereal and relaxing headspace. “Cairo” and “Better Company” showcase Kaye and Tate at their finest.
From the first track, Belong unleashes euphoric melodies like a gust of cool air. “Open” is a stunning composition, managing to be dense and spacious at the same time. Kaye’s voice is gentle at all the right moments, making her full voice that much more startling and serene. “No Promises” is the distant cousin of Lykke Li’s sensational “I Follow Rivers,” driven by rhythmic repetition and hypnotic vocals. There isn’t a song on this record that won’t make you want to smash replay immediately.
Belong is out now via Downtown Records.
Watch the extremely aesthetically pleasing lyric video for “No Promises” below!