Last year saw the formation of Sylvan Weekends. Even though this collection of musicians may be new, each member has plenty of experience to offer the group. They describe themselves as a “band born from contradiction: London meets wilderness, tech meets off-grid, folk meets electro. The ethos of contrast is seeded through every track and lyric”. So who are they? First up is Matthew, who keeps busy as he is part of many projects, including fronting the folk band Keston Cobblers Club. Freya is known for her instrumental music but has also impressed with her storytelling in her other musical projects. The final member of this collective is Daniel, who is part of the folk band Stables (along with Matthew).
Back to Sylvan Weekends. In a short time together, they have captivated audiences with their live performances. Not only that but they’re receiving rave reviews for their singles. They’re ready to showcase their collective talents with their debut EP Outliers. It is a collection of songs that will make you smile, reminisce and share stories that will make you think about yourself and others. Now, let’s find out what this release has to offer.
Outliers starts with the stunning track “Every Day”. It begins with a mix of electronic elements, including an infectious beat. It does not take long for the vocals to join in with the open lines, “I am honestly awash with doubt, defeat / I want to know for sure / See as long as there’s a chance you feel the same / How unthinkable it is to walk away”. These words are shared flawlessly by Matthew and Freya. Their tones are gentle and complement each other perfectly. This trait continues throughout the EP (Daniel joins in during the harmonies).
Music with stunning storytelling that will make you smile, reminisce and more. It must be the Outliers EP by Sylvan Weekends
As the song progresses, you can’t help but smile because of its positive energy. Part of this is thanks to the captivating soundtrack that this trio creates. The other is the lyrical delivery, especially in its second half. Both share their words at a fast tempo and are mesmerising. These sections begin with the lines, “I want to message you to see if you are lonely. Would you hold me? / What’d you think about our government? / I know you like your phonies / Do you think about me sexually? / I think about you every day”. It is impressive how they say so much and how you are able to take in what they are singing. It creates an energetic track that holds your attention from start to finish.
The mood slows down with the arrival of “Symmetry”. It has more of a chilled folk vibe as the dual vocals stand out yet again. Even more, as they share the hook, that begins with, “I better wise up before I lose the lot, stop / Playing with these lives, like a tiller man stuck, stop, but”. This gentle mood flows into “Young and Freewheeling”, a story that takes you on a stroll down memory lane. They say, “It’s an invitation to return to that carefree way of being”. Its soundtrack mirrors the carefree lyrics within the song.
The title track, “Outliers”, offers more of Matthew and Freya’s gentle vocals. The addition of electronic elements gives a different feel to those before it. Sylvan Weekends ends the EP (as it started) with a stand-out moment. “185” opens up with a blend of background harmonies, piano, and some electronic layers. Then their story begins with, “Going out for the night on the 185 / Limousine’s not our scene, and that’s fine”.
It may be about a bus that links their houses, but it says much more. The scenes created with their words are captivating. One that stands out is, “Going out for the night on the 185 / It’s a comedy close to divine / Mavericks get their kicks, pick n mix on the seat / As we turn there’s a skirmish behind”. While sharing their tale, they entice you to sing along when the hook arrives. You are compelled to join in with, “We’re witnesses of history / I’d rather watch it all with you / The stories we’re collecting now / I’m hoping they will carry us through”. It all comes together to create another stand-out moment.
Outliers may be a short EP, but it delivers a lot. It offers compelling storytelling with a mesmerising soundtrack. It is a great first chapter of the musical journey of Sylvan Weekends. Hopefully, there will be many more to follow.