Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Desert Life Recount Anxious Feelings and Bittersweet Melodies in Their New Single ‘Sphere'

The Welsh pseudonym Desert Life has just unveiled their latest single, ‘Sphere’, a remarkable track that exudes vulnerability and apprehension through a captivating, lo-fi acoustic arrangement.

Desert Life is the collaborative work of singer-songwriter, Chris Swales, and multi-instrumentalist, Tom Jordan. Together, they craft a unique fusion of Americana and alternative folk, marked by intricate compositions and subtle instrumentation. 

Their music is known for its recurrent exploration of themes like heartbreak, wistfulness, and introspection within the lyrical content, and they have likened their sound to the styles of Jeff Tweedy, Bon Iver, Ryan Adams, and R.E.M.

‘Sphere’ delves into the deep realm of anxiety, exploring how these feelings can intensify and fester into fear and concern. Composed during the pandemic, ‘Sphere’ was inspired by Swales witnessing friends grappling with their mental health and offers an observation of others, while encapsulating one’s own feelings. This is told through emotive lyricism throughout, as exuded in “Creeping closer it makes you fear, tell yourself it's just a dream but the panic invades your sphere.”  This is intensified by the hauntingly beautiful melody and captivating vocals of Swales that make ‘Sphere’ an elegant, intricate ballad but still owning the stripped-back approach that is cool and relaxing. 

Showing elements of lo-fi, Desert Life uses environmental noise and other phonographic audio imperfections to hone in on ‘Sphere’ thanks to its gentle rhythm, persistent melody, and the enveloping sense of nostalgia that it permeates.

‘Sphere’ serves as a poignant reflection of anxiety and mental well-being and is cleverly told between two differing musical styles. On one hand, we have the intricacies of a ballad but on the other the imperfections of lo-fi. The melancholic yet melodious sound and compelling, emotive vocals give the overall track a level of elegance that will capture the attention of the listener but it is the relatable themes that will keep them on for the journey. 

Ana Joy King


Image: ‘Sphere’ Official Single Cover

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