ODEZA In return album art

Record review: ODESZA – ‘In Return’

I rarely find an album where each song stands on its own. ODESZA’s sophomore album, In Return, had me addicted from the start and kept me addicted through every track on the record.

I was first hooked on their single, “Memories That Call You (feat. Monsoonsiren),” which I thought was phenomenal. I worried that the couple of singles I heard would be the only good songs on the record but that’s not the case. In fact, there are quite a few songs that surprised me (in a good way).

In Return features a handful of  featured artists I’m unfamiliar with but who all blend perfectly into the album. One of my favorite tracks on the record is “All We Need,” which features vocals by Shy Girls. His vocals remind me of The Weeknd so check him out if that’s your kinda jam.

Another stand out on the album is “Say My Name (feat. Zyra).” The track is perfectly placed on the album, appearing second after the introductory track. The pop beats and lyrics make me want to get up and dance. The bass hits hard and digs deep.

This record is extremely bass forward.

Speaking of the bass, this record is extremely bass forward. What I mean is that the bass is boosted, almost to a fault. At times the bass sounds wooly and uncontrolled but it’s not a deal breaker. I wish the bass took a backseat on tracks with female vocals as it drowns out the treble sparkle, especially on tracks featuring Zyra and Jenni Potts.

Overall, the record sounds great. There’s very little record hiss, creating a silent, black background during lulls in the music. I’m also glad ODESZA chose to release this thirteen track album on two LPs instead of one. This gives each track some more breathing room. Some records have songs placed so closely together that you can hear part of the upcoming groove before the needle even tracks it.

The record is cut perfectly, with the grooves placed perfectly in the center. This ensures easy tracking for the needle. My tonearm damper is almost not needed for this record since it’s so flat and cut properly.

I recommend playing the album through a good pair of speakers if you have them since the soundstage is difficult to reproduce accurately with headphones, even with my AKG K702, which are known for their wide soundstage. The first time I played the track “Kusanagi” I was spooked by the detail in the noises of children playing in the background. I had my windows open at the time and thought kids were actually playing outside.

The WAV version sounds even better than the vinyl.

As a bonus, the vinyl record includes a digital download code and audiophiles will be happy to know that they can download 44.1 kHz/24-bit WAV files instead of the typical 320 kbps MP3. The WAV version sounds even better than the vinyl, which isn’t that surprising since the record was produced using digital tools in the first place. Still, the vinyl still sounds excellent and offers a more engaging sway to listen to the music.

I find myself rushing through this review so I can keep listening to the album. I’m hooked. Highly recommended.

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