Out of quiet Edmonton comes the ethereal sounds of RV Farms, an up and coming indie rock band comprised solely of Dan English, and whose new single presents listeners with a dazzling soundscape of spacey melodies and erudite lyrics. Faceted with a pop-savvy framework and executed with surgical precision, “Too Much” welcomes us into the smooth sound of this endearing one man band; a sound that brought critics to their knees in 2016’s Pale. Much like the bulk of that album, this single utilizes a minimalist style of attack that invests heavily in creating a mood through the master mix instead of via lyricism alone, and though its avant-garde framework is a bit more sophisticated than your average FM pop fair, its intellectual appeal is only one element in its charming sonic profile.
“Too Much,” at its core, is the marriage of mind-bending music theory with pristine, almost pastoral vocals that are delivered unto us as sleekly as possible. The central melody that drives the opening stanza is dripping with a post-punk style surrealism that is boldly cushioning of the somewhat muted bassline, which would be spilling all over the place were it not in this controlled environment. While the tempo is somewhat swift and pushy, the instrumentation pendulously drags behind, trying somehow to slow things down and stretch out the finer points of a single hook. Call it insular or even suffocating, but what RV Farms is doing in this song is more than just skewing pop songwriting with physicality; it’s engaging with the audience on multiple levels that go beyond stimulating us with a bittersweet harmony.
The production quality here is nothing short of gorgeous. Whether it be the depth of the instruments and their agile movement throughout the track or the intricacies within the actual composition of the song itself, the most obscure of details is treated like the star of the show in this recording, and we’re allowed to appreciate the single for how truly complex and calculated it is. It’s not often that a track like “Too Much” is brimming with as much charismatic tonality while maintaining what amounts to a black and white, bare-essentials construction, but so far 2019 has been anything but a predictable year for music in both the independent and mainstream markets.
There’s plenty of good music to look forward to this year ranging any number of genres that might catch your interest, but if you’re looking for an early standout, RV Farms’ “Too Much” definitely sets the bar high enough to intimidate the weaker, more inept contemporaries within the Edmonton scene. “Too Much” isn’t a demanding pop song that asks more from its listeners than they end up getting out of the experience, but rather a slickly produced, augmented strain of ambient music that flirts with rock n’ roll’s wistful side but is careful to adhere to its conservative makeup musically. After a couple of years in the background, something tells me that it’s RV Farms’ time, and with a song as sexy and sublime as this one to lead the charge, 2019 just might be the year that this solo vehicle finally breaks through to the mainstream.