Both giddily buoyant and touchingly wistful, “Best Intentions” is, indeed, electronic music offering up its best intentions, finding sweet humanity in and around the fabricated nature of the sound. I love when electronic music can locate this special place, where synthetics come full circle back to genuine spirit; it almost single-handedly gives me faith that even in this black-and-white age of zeros and ones we will yet learn to reside more often in the good knotty life to be found in all the gray that remains around us if we only look and listen.
And even if not, this is a fine fine song. Note the slow-building intro, and note I often do not have patience for slow-building intros, and note that I really like this one. It begins on a chord that I can only describe as heavenly, as in if there is a heaven, this is the kind of chord you will hear upon entry, an unearthly blend of peacefulness and edgy wonder. An old-fashioned radio voice cycles in and out as we eventually settle on the appealing if deceptively complex bounce that comprises the song’s bewitching groove. The airy yet commanding falsetto lead vocal is, in the verse, mixed knowingly on top of what sounds like a distorted bass synthesizer (listen way down below for it); there is something in the layering of those two sounds that really engages the ear. Or my ear, anyway, which also hears in this juxtaposition an aural metaphor for how the music’s delightful bop is counter-balanced by the plaintive story sketched by the skillful and concise lyrics.
And then the chorus, counterintuitively, peels back the sound rather than piles more on—we get little but the voice and that central, captivating bounce. I especially like the skippy upward flourish we get at 1:38 and 1:56. Actually, I especially like pretty much everything here. It’s only January but this is a shoo-in for a 2014 favorite come December.
Satchmode is the Los Angeles-based duo of Gabe Donnay and Adam Boukis. They formed in 2013. “Best Intentions” is the lead track on their debut EP, Collide, which was released last week. If you visit the band’s SoundCloud page, you can currently download the EP’s title track for free. Thanks to the band for the MP3, and thanks to Largehearted Boy for the initial lead.