Good Things Come in Threes: A Look in to Optics by Retrolux
What’s always been so compelling to me about music is that a song can be written with a particular subject or memory in mind, but a listener hears it in the context of their own life. That’s how I’ve found myself sitting here trying to decipher the meaning behind the song “Peachy” by Retrolux, with my mind clouded by the personal associations the song brings about. It’s a powerful phenomenon. Gainesville’s dreamy indie-pop duo, Retrolux, returns to the scene with their second EP, Optics.
This duo comprised of Anna James and Maynard Shaye have elegantly intertwined their talents to offer us a whimsical look in to the ups and downs of young love; a topic familiar to most. This three-track project carefully meets at the intersection between easy-listening and thought-provoking romanticism. One day you can listen to it and allow it to wash over your mind with its electronically-charged chill vibe, and the next, it can really make you stop to think about a much more intimate meaning.
Optics has this almost liquid quality to it that moves you from one song to the next. Anna James, the duo’s singer, said that this EP really unmasks them falling in to their own style as artists and figuring out a unique sound. You can see the hand of some of their influences at work, including ODESZA, Sylvan Esso, Phantogram and Flume. Retrolux has done an admirable job at borrowing inspiration from other artists, but still defining their own identity.
Lending back to my previous opinion that a song can have a different connotation to each person, I asked James which song off the EP meant the most to her as a writer and as a performer. “I personally love ‘21’ the most because I like the lyrics, and it’s super relevant to my life. It’s just about being in love in your early 20s, and you’re hesitant because you still have so much life to live before you settle down with someone… but that someone is just so great that you can’t NOT be with them.”
Being young is a constant sway between embracing your youth as the time to explore and deciding when you’ve found the person who is your permanent adventure. The group is excited to welcome 2018 as a frontier of unexplored growth as musicians. “We’ll be releasing at the beginning of 2018… then hopefully just playing awesome shows and writing and releasing as much as possible,” James said.