“I’ve got a premonition,” singer-songwriter Emma Harvey purrs as bandmate Kel Taylor’s crisp guitar thrums punctuate her words. The romance that Harvey and Taylor hint at in their new single, “Easy Now,” may be on the fritz, but the song itself is just the opposite: airy, nuanced, and utterly aflame.
Together, Harvey and Taylor are two halves of an up-and-coming, irresistible whole, the Nashville, Tennessee-based band Sawyer, who call their poppy-slash-folksy genre of music “indie sparkle pop.” The duo started out as individual performers, both undergraduates at Belmont University in Nashville, where Harvey often accompanied Taylor with guitar, voice, and other instruments. Teaming up officially in March 2015, Sawyer has released one full album, “Nightfall,” as well as three singles—“Letting Go,” “The Last Thing,” and “Ten Feet Tall”—each of which features sparse, smart lyrics and highlights the duo’s silken and lively vocal harmonies. “Easy Now,” their latest single, puts a strong foot forward for Sawyer’s future.
Like the band’s previous work, “Easy Now” features a relaxed, optimistic melody with an undercurrent of deep longing, thanks to astute, knowing lyrics. A few words say it all here, and each one is plucked carefully in an Emily Dickinson-like fashion. Returning to the song’s opening lines, ushered in by sweeping, breathy synth beats, Harvey sings: “I’ve got a premonition / It’s a loaded gun / I think, and it becomes.” The melody exudes a carefree grace, an infectiously genuine happiness that Harvey and Taylor radiate when performing together, and still the complexity of these lyrics lingers. The song tackles a relatable, albeit painful, reality—the inevitable end of a nonstarter relationship—and, in doing so, Sawyer manages to exude a fresh, thought-provoking spirit that is both youthfully feel-good and mature.
The catchy chorus, too, seems to encapsulate the effortless listening experience that Sawyer provides. In total control of their breezy sound, the pair sing: “Easy now / I let it go / But I don’t know where to put it down.” At the same time youthful and soulful, each note contains multitudes of sound, texture, and feeling. Harvey and Taylor’s harmonies blend seamlessly with light percussion and the ever-present guitar to create a manicured yet breathless aura. Like the lyrics suggest, so much is at stake for the song’s nebulous “I” protagonist, but Sawyer is an all-knowing guide to help her along her way. That Harvey and Taylor hold back some of their power, right until the song’s final bridge, only adds to the strong impression “Easy Now” makes. If Sawyer’s previous work (as well as this smooth single) are an indication of their musicianship and overall outlook, their future promises to be very “easy” indeed.
—Staff writer Melissa C. Rodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @melissa_rodman.