Earlier this year, ODESZA and Golden Features dropped a surprise on us by announcing that they were joining forces for a new project called BRONSON. The pair had worked with each other in the past but never for something that was uniquely theirs. Their debut album Bronson changes that.
“Creatively, working together pushed us out of our comfort zones and expanded our musical limits,” they wrote when Bronson was launched. You can hear that energy across the whole 10-track project which stretches the capabilities of both acts in many different directions.
Join us as we walk through the record track-by-track below.
Golden Features and ODESZA are both no strangers to moody, atmospheric pieces so it’s perhaps no surprise the album begins like the soundtrack to a film. Foundation also feels like it’s warming up a car. The layers begin to build from an eerie synth and then we’re thrown into a world of medieval vocals and cracking beats. It feels as if it’s taken the atmosphere of an ODESZA track and melded it into the heavy darkness of Golden Features.
Heart Attack (Feat. lau.ra)
We already loved Heart Attack, the album’s first single, but it sounds particularly impressive coming off the back of Foundation. It mixes in perfectly and once that pulsating beat hits, it’s electric. Heart Attack is an interesting song. The verses make it feel like it could expand into an EDM giant but the chorus pulls it back into something more intimate. One of the most impressive electronic tracks of the year.
Often with collaborative albums you can start to tell which artist each track leans towards but Bronson is different. Every single song sounds truly collaborative with each of them bringing their own distinctions to the table and also lending them to experimentation. The glitchy vocals of Bline are in ODESZA’s wheelhouse but they’re then undercut by Golden Features’ thumping industrial beats. That mix turns out to be mind-bending as we’re taken on a largely instrumental journey here.
Know Me (Feat. Gallant)
Gallant is the second featured vocalist of the record and he brings a crystalline performance to the table here. Gallant has featured on dance tracks in the past by SG Lewis and The Knocks but this is a whole different mood for him. It’s melancholic in delivery and yet there’s a comforting message attached. He sings alongside a buoyant synth that seems to meld into his voice in the mix. It’s a beautiful moment in the record and one that provides some momentary relief from the pulsating beats.
You barely even realise Know Me has finished when you’re plunged into the icy world of Vaults. This track arrived at the very beginning alongside Heart Attack, showing a more experimental side to the project. Vaults is dark and twisted. It takes shuffling detours, always returning to this circling, damning synth.
If you thought this album couldn’t get any darker, Tense takes on the challenge. It’s the grittiest of the bunch, at times sounding like it’s taking influence from the rock world. There’s distortion alongside beats that absolutely shutter the speaker and it feels exhilarating. The best part about Tense is it’s unlike nothing either parties have ever done. “We chose this name to remind ourselves that this is something different,” they wrote at the start of the project and you can feel that more than ever here.
If Tense was the most brutal moment, then Call Out is the reprieve. It’s an atmospheric, floating song that moves on a bed of manipulated vocals and beats that sound like they’re out of the Drive soundtrack. This album feels like it could be played from start-to-finish live and really take you on a journey. You’re not going to find Instagrammable-drops of pop hooks on here but there’s a cohesive story that makes consuming it as a whole memorable.
A moment of calm and we’re straight back in it, raising the tempo with some bounding beats. This feels particularly out of the box for ODESZA who have never made anything this aggressive in their lives. Even for Golden Features, it’s harder. There’s a relentless movement to the song that gives the album a hearty injection of energy in its back half.
We’ve already heard Keep Moving but again it takes on a new life in the context of the album. It picks up the pace from Contact and keeps the blood flowing. The vocals that come in sound like they’re plucked straight from a horror film while the distortion is anxiety-inducing in the best way.
Dawn (Feat. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs)
Bronson have taken us on a journey on this record and they’re not letting us go without a seven-minute epic. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs joins here but only on vocals. He’s become a pro at laying down emotional vocals over the top of club beats and he brings serenity to Dawn. Bronson give us a drum ‘n’ bass-inspired beat that almost self destructs along the way. Much like the record begun though, it ends in peace with TEED’s falsetto over some haunting keys. A moving finish.