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Live Review: leftprojects level up on 'Swank'

7 December 2018 | 7:40 am | Michael Stratford Hutch

LEFTPROJECTS, the collaborative electronic project of producer/guitarist Jono Graham and vocalist Sarah Corry, have followed up a slew of 2018 singles with their latest exploration of RnB infused electropop, ‘Swank.’

Drawing upon a host of influences including hip hop, experimental jazz, neo soul, and dubstep, leftprojects forms around Corry’s distinctly sultry voice. On ‘Swank,’ leftprojects explore the anxiety surrounding friendships - whether or not we give enough in them, whether or not we’re spending enough time with the people we want to, and how exhausting these feelings become over time. Rather than dwelling on these ideas, however, ‘Swank’ is a triumphant middle finger to feeling like you’re missing out - using that feeling instead as an invitation to start figuring yourself out, and to trust in your relationships.

'Swank’ is a smokey-eyed, sumptuous midtempo number. The production is subtle, hugely affective, and totally arresting. You catch yourself listening out for every little detail: small breaths, panned percussion samples, little sweeps of echoed vocals, and gaps of pure silence that pull attention throughout the track and add a richness that is seldom seen elsewhere.

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Perhaps the song’s greatest success is the gorgeous vocal production, particularly in the chorus, with layering that adds a disarming power to the song’s hook. The attention to detail displayed on the track’s ad-libs and harmonies also pays off - they’re easily some of the best I’ve heard in 2018. Vocalist Sarah Corry’s cadence is rapturous—it somehow manages both a floating elegance and incisive character all at once. ‘Swank’ could be clearly sat right beside Mariah Carey’s more recent work, M∆DE IN HEIGHTS, and The Harpoons.

Having already accrued almost a million plays on Spotify, being regular players on Triple J & FBi Radio, and supporting artists including Thundamentals’ Tuka, Thelma Plum, and Sietta, it’s hard to believe that leftprojects are still such a well-kept secret in many parts of Australia. It will be interesting to see what 2019 brings for the duo, given such a strong 2018—it would be great at this point to see their sound explored in a larger release, such as an EP.