Fun, if somewhat unoriginal, house album
Olympia, Gorgon City’s third studio album, is heavily centered in dreamy, bass-heavy house music. If lockdown restrictions this year ease up, Olympia, packed with catchy and playful tunes, is sure to be a staple on the dance floors of raves, clubs and music festivals all over the globe.
The electronic-production duo, made up of North London natives Kye “Foamo” Gibbon and Matt “RackNRuin” Robson-Scott, has been releasing music since their debut single in 2013. Since then, the pair have collaborated with artists such as Clean Bandit, Wyclef Jean and Vaults—the most recent album features singers and artists such as DRAMA, Sofi Tukker, Hayley May and Cami Izquierdo.
Perhaps because they are both electronic house duos from the London area, Gorgon City often gets compared to Disclosure—though there are similarities between the two, Gorgon City’s drum beats are structured in a slightly different manner, with a pulsating rhythmic consistency that Disclosure strays away from. This steadiness, alongside instrumental and vocal experimentation, allows for an entertaining and catchy soundscape that catches the listener.
The sound, though fun, is not fresh or particularly original. This particular strain of house, characterized by a heavy pop influence, sleekly polished vocals and a steady techno beat, has been a steadfast presence in the back of Instagram Explore Page videos and Tik Toks since what feels like the beginning of time. Many of the tracks on Olympia feel familiar despite it being a new release. However, Gibbon and Robson-Scott are excellent producers and have created an album that nails their genre.
The album kicks off with “Tell Me It’s True,” a track that begins in a stream of rhythmic breathy vocals that crescendo into a pulsing beat drop of bass and synth. The track interplays metal drums and a powerful synth to immerse the listener in the world of a vibrating dance floor. “You’ve Done Enough” features production and vocalist duo DRAMA and a softer background sound that allows the track to be both present and ambient at the same time. “When You’re Gone” also has a muted, celestial sound that pairs well with the husky vocals on the track—the two are equally relaxing and less dance-focused than other songs on the album.
“House Arrest,” which was also released as a single last year, is a standout on the album. Sofi Tukker’s voice crones about being confined inside due to the pandemic. The track is either poking fun at the dismal state of electronic music at a time when people are forced to stay home, or it is an exuberant push to continue to enjoy music despite the current state of the world.
“Nobody,” which has another feature from DRAMA, is similar to “You’ve Done Enough” in its gentle atmospheric quality. In contrast, “Lost Feelings” and “Tears” featuring Grace Gundy are the complete opposite with fast-paced, bouncy electronic beats. The closing track, “Freedom,” is a slower piece that likens a ballad—its soundscape presents Josh Barry’s masterful voice, intermittent clicking, a harmonic, almost heavenly, overlay of synth, and a guiding drum beat.
Olympia is not groundbreaking, nor does it push any buttons, but it is entertaining and extremely palatable to a lot of people; Gibbon and Robson-Scott have created a versatile album that will certainly be heard in retail stores, on dance floors and in the background of Internet videos.