Roger Sellers, otherwise known as Bayonne, is an electro artist from Texas who makes great soundscapes of sunrise synths, dance club beats, and drifting cottonwood vocals. He’s a one-man show and his beautiful Primitives album is inspiring. It will make you consider, as LCD Soundsystem once put it, selling your guitar to buy a synthesizer and starting your own music career. I know I am…and I don’t even have a guitar.
“Intro” has a simple title for the first track, but it’s far from simple. Big drums combine with pulsing synths and distant vocals. The percussion keeps building until it cuts to a sparkling wall of sound. It flows into “Appeals,” a peppy song with racing electric piano bringing a happy sound to a tune about a lost love.
“Spectrolite” is not only one of the best electro songs of the year, it’s one of the best songs of the year – period. Sellers sings vocals that barely push out of the background from his synth bass and bouncy tones while his pal Matt Toman lays down house music drums. This should be on your summer playlist if it isn’t already there.
“Marim” is thumping bass and clockwork beats with more vocals that almost disappear. I love how Sellers doesn’t let his vocals overpower his soundscapes on most of the tracks. He knows when to back off the vocals and let the sounds take the song in the right direction. He also knows when to put the vocals in front, like when he sings about his yearning for someone far from him on “Waves.”
The beginning of “Steps” reminds me of the beginning of “Baba O’Riley” with its repeating synth motif. “Lates” is a beautiful ballad with simple piano chords, beats, and synths wrapped in lush reverbed vocals. The beats build to a simmer and then a rolling boil. It’s delightful.
“Omar” starts off quirky but soon morphs into a pulsing, toe-tapping, shimmering song about shattering one’s illusions. It’s ideal for the first rays of daylight coming into your car after a long drive all night.
Primitives is quality stuff. Don’t be surprised if you see Sellers headlining music festivals before too long. Sounds this rich can’t stand hidden for long.
Keep your mind open.
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