“All my past lives / They got nothing on me”
Be it endearingly charming or tediously cocky, there’s something to be said for a 22 year-old – whom one would assume hasn’t had time to learn all that much – making such a learned claim. But there it is and out of the mouth of a babe named BØRNS. Garrett Borns.
It matters not from whence he came; BØRNS has situated himself in Los Angeles where he appears to have harnessed the virtual sound of the autumnal sun and processed them through synthesizers to produce a debut EP that is unusually seamless. With a vocal gift riding the rails between the edgy sharpness of Portugal. The Man and the ability to lay elegant harmonies atop one another like a Beach Boy, the four song sampling of Candy digs in with grand, sweeping gestures: romantic, illogical and perfectly sun-kissed electro-fied rock. There’s a lot of love in here, be it of the high voltage variety in “Electric Love” or reaching heights, catching air (“quickly wrote a love letter / turned it into an airplane”) or bringing celestial bodies into the melodious conversation with “Seeing Stars.” He’s a thoroughly modern man (albeit one who will occasionally get mistaken for a woman) with lyrical trips that are simple and to the point yet visually and vibrantly expressive over intelligent, airy music that finds a familiar 80s to 90s pop pulse. When “Past Lives” lifts off from its languid and 50s ice cream dreamy intro, not only is there pristine reverence to relations that came before, it’s like a direct portal back to the unlikely freestyle and saccharine hip hop flavor/rhythm ala Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam and it’s impossible to deny the goodness. Go ahead and try. And if there is any sort of video on tap for “Past Lives” there had better be poodle skirts involved.
Not assuming that BØRNS pondered anywhere near as deeply into this at all, but the magickal message from Hermetica’s tome, The Emerald Tablet, of “as above, so below” actually plays itself out here: musically and emotively (just file that under random associative knowledge). After three songs of elevated, aerated and whimsical blasts of passion, “10,000 Emerald Pools” is Candy’s mystical and most sensual plunge south, with obvious aquatics included. It’s the song that began the cycle of attentive and deserved praise, a track with a bass line so clean and simple (the likes of which an Adam Clayton would lay down to assure a song moved along with graceful and steady footing) and a plaint and dedicated lover’s voice pleading his enchanting case through the groove. But while the tempo and temperature shift downward, the pleasure and sense of satisfaction do not. So if there is any wonder why Interscope Records has fallen for BØRNS, it’s because they’re sure that you will, too.
I guess Mr. Borns knows a thing or two, after all.