One of the most pervasive sentiments among all the artists I got a chance to talk to at this year’s SXSW is a desire to bring the music back to the sounds that inspired them. One such artist was Neon Bunny. She’s always tried to inject her music with more of the jazz she grew up listening to while still maintaining a modern sound—connecting her roots to her vision of the future. When she announced she’d dropped her latest album Stay Gold on her Bandcamp, I was curious to see if she’d made good on her desires.
It makes sense she led the album with her two most recent singles. Both “Romance in Seoul” and “Forest of Skyscrapers” have a surprising amount of soul, the latter melding electronic elements with her softly curled coo, while the former is an amalgamation of natural and traditional sounds, a sparse beat intricately interspersed between a more complex composition and her airy second soprano.
The opening tracks would lead one to believe the album is one of introspective contemplation, a sort of self-reflection wrapped in a bit of melancholy. However, her collaboration with elemental house DJ Mark Redito suggests Neon Bunny is intent on showing listeners all her sides. When I spoke with her in March, she assured fans they could expect “fun” in her upcoming releases. “Room 314” is certainly a bright piece of music, opening with the twinkling sounds of a synthesized triangle—dotting the sky with stars. The brightness of the track is infused with some truly beautiful broken beats at its peak.
From that point the heavens truly do open up.
Stay Gold showcases just how multifaceted Neon Bunny truly is as an artist. There’s as much of the bright electronica she’s known for as there is the soul she’s always consciously trying to infuse into her music. Intricate melodies wrap around her lovely vocal and provide warmth to the sparseness of the beats that make up the backbone of her sound. The music isn’t rushed, never pushing itself on the listener. Rather we’re given the opportunity to become a part of the artist’s journey, the sound first poured over us like melted sugar: hot and searing. Then as the sound cools, it sticks to the skin and becomes entwined with our human composition.
That’s what’s so powerful about some of Neon Bunny’s music. Each song is meant to stick with you, make you a part of it. With every new song, a new layer is draped over us, surround us with unique sounds and emotions. From the sultry ache of “Romance in Seoul” to the sparkling brilliance of “It’s You,” we are taken across universes and allowed to experience the tempest that is romance. Then we’re given the simple loveliness of tracks “New Moon” and “Don’t forget me,” and the entire scope of the album is again transmogrified.
The beauty of Neon Bunny is she’s forever in flux. That is she’s always moving toward something and at the same time moving us along with her. Stay Gold both in name and sound is a call to grab onto something beautiful and never let it go. She’s given us an album that’s equal parts soothing and energetic. Housed between smoother pieces of melodic electronica we’re given moments of blazing light. Ending on a magical piece of piano, Neon Bunny succeeds in staying ingrained in our memories from now until she gifts us with more of her wistful yet ever optimistic music.
Rating: 4.25/5 Stars
You can listen to and purchase Stay Gold on Neon Bunny’s Bandcamp.
- Romance in Seoul
- Forest of Skyscrapers
- Room 314 (feat. Mark Redito)
- All i want is you
- It’s you
- New Moon
- Don’t Forget Me