Shortly before the millennium, an album dropped that became the soundtrack for literally everything. You couldn't turn on the radio, sip coffee in a cafe, walk down the street or watch a sports highlight package without hearing Find My Baby, Natural Blues, Run On, or anything else from Moby's 1999 effort, Play.
Mashing together blues samples and casual trip-hop gave Moby hooks for days, and Play quickly became ubiquitous, spawning an entire genre of chillwave copycats in the process. Then Play was played-out. Where's Moby now? I don't know. I can't even be bothered googling his name.
But Odesza seem very familiar with Play's antics on their over-calculated third album. It's a shame: their first two records were joyous summer road trip soundtracks that took the Seattle duo from bedroom boffins to in-demand supplier of low-key festival bangers.
Their EDM-chill sounded both familiar and fresh: their breakbeats appealing to hip-hop heads, their synth game pulling in pop purveyors. If sunshine was involved, Odesza became the go-to.
Here, Odesza are clearly going for the cafe soundtrack market. A Moment Apart apes Moby's Play template, swapping soul samples for at least eight guest vocalists employed to conjure up some feels. Occasionally it works: early single Line of Sight sounds like an offcut from In Return, an effortlessly anthemic headrush with a level of honesty The Chainsmokers would kill for.
But those examples are scarce. Higher Ground could be Enya's Orinoco Flow remixed for 2017. La Ciudad should be soundtracking a tourism promo for a far-flung Pacific Island. Thin Floors and Tall Ceilings belongs in an ultra-pretentious museum. Boy pushes samples and synths to levels that would rival a stinky gorgonzola.
Then there's Across the Room, which features the always awesome Leon Bridges. It's a great start as Odesza get out of the soul singer's way and let him do his thing. But they can't leave a good thing alone, playing with vocals and pitches and strings for the song's entire second half until it becomes yet another Moby-ish moment from an album full of them.
Odesza - A Moment Apart
Label: Ninja Tune
Verdict: An over-calculated play for feels