Describing their first three albums as a trilogy that is now complete, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn see No Rules Sandy as the beginning of a new period, with songs that are “wilder and stranger and more cathartic than the band used to be,” says Sanborn.
Between earning a GRAMMY nomination and presenting at the awards, performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, making their daytime TV debut on Ellen, and announcing dozens of more tour dates, festival slots and 30+ amphitheater shows with ODESZA, Sylvan Esso’s 2022 was a whirlwind.
Some bands can create entire albums on short-term writing jags, but until now, Sylvan Esso was not one of them. But that speed - and the resulting looseness and live-wire energy in their songs - is one of many things that feels like brand-new territory in No Rules Sandy, their fourth studio album. Describing their first three albums as a trilogy that is now complete, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn see No Rules Sandy as the beginning of a new period, with songs that are “wilder and stranger and more cathartic than the band used to be,” as Sanborn puts it. “It feels like who we actually are,” Meath adds. “It just feels like us. We’re not trying to fit into the mold, just happily being our freak selves.”
Both describe No Rules Sandy as their most personal project - right in the title, after all, is Sanborn’s own nickname. The most intimate - but still enigmatic - details arrive in interstitial moments between tracks, featuring voicemails from loved ones, birdsong from outside their studio, Betty’s, the voices of children, and other life detritus transformed into eternal art. “It feels like this diary entry from this very specific time,” Sanborn says of the interstitials, which fill the gaps between songs and make No Rules Sandy an unbroken ribbon of sound, a source of wildness and energy that continues from the album’s first moment to the last.
One of the album’s most replay-ready excursions lies in ‘Echo Party,’ a track teeming with club-fueled vitality and playful, glitchy nuance. The video accompaniment for the track, released alongside their album, offers fans a peek into a visual translation of the new soundscape they’ve conceived for the venture...It’s an expert commentary on the duality of humans, and the singer-producer pair themselves" - Dancing Astronaut
"Challenges all expectations…an album that celebrates renewed, unconstrained motion: lighthearted on the surface, purposeful at its core.” - The New York Times
"I really love the direction they take on no rules sandy, the songs are a lot stranger than what I think they’ve done before. They’re more chopped up and jagged, as the name implies they really threw out the rulebook for this one. And I think they ended up with certainly one of the best things they’ve ever done, if not their best record” - All Things Considered
"a collection of danceable pop songs that feel as mesmerizing as confetti falling to the floor” - NYLON
"Sylvan Esso’s most thrillingly unpredictable outing yet, 16 tracks—including intimate, diary-like recordings as connective tissue—that feel fresh and vital even at their most familiar...a risk that pays off, and a testament to the power of self-belief" - PASTE
"Unlike many albums driven into existence by a post-pandemic reality, Sylvan Esso’s fourth offering doesn’t dwell in solitude, despair, or desire for escape. Instead, it resides in what is left after the darkness clears: tighter connections to the surrounding world and the people who populate it. To borrow Meath and Sanborn’s own words, the album is a bold and defiant example of what could happen when you walk back into the world, 'wilder and stranger' than before." -NME - ★★★★
"This is life-affirming music, body-affirming music, creativity-affirming music...They keep coming back, with the same electricity, the same compassion, the same humanity and the same insistence that being human is a complicated but glorious thing to be.” -Northern Transmission - 8.5/10