There’s a kind of respectable indulgence behind the idea of Sylvie that I have to love. The band, conceived by Benjamin Schwab (Golden Daze, Drugdealer) alongside friends and fellow songwriters Marina Allen and Sam Burton (solo LPs out on Fire and Tompkins Square respectively) takes its name from a bit of an obscure song by Ian Matthews. They convened to cover the song, long one of Schwab’s favorites that he viewed as not getting the attention it deserved, and eventually worked out the five tracks here. The idea of curating deep cuts, both from personal writings and in cover form lays at the core of Sylvie’s aesthetic. The three make it work, offering up a EP that’s both nostalgic to wood-paneled perfection, but also slides in nicely alongside a shift towards Cosmic Americana, ‘70s AOR, and Canyon Folk that’s taken place over the past few years. There’s not a trace of insincerity in what the band have cobbled together here, feeling like the kind of release that might pop up under L.A.’s Forager Records or in some Light in the Attic deep dive if it’d been stumbled upon at a yard sale.
From the cover, to originals that evoke the same rarefied air, Schwab and his cohorts have created exactly the kind of hidden gem of a record that might get picked out of the bins and become a fast favorite. There are even songs that have long been kicking around the reels, including a lovely track by Schwab’s friend Stanley Thiel and a version of an instrumental demo from Schwab’s father’s time in his band Mad Anthony. They stitch them all together into an EP that moves effortlessly through the speakers, despite spending years in the forge before the right elements came into place. So, with the focus around here on Hidden Gems, there’s no way I can pass up something like this, right?
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.