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Sylvan Esso Straddle Line Between Pleasure and Pain on ‘Sunburn’

Sylvan Esso straddle the line between pleasure and pain on their surprise new song, “Sunburn,” which dropped Wednesday at midnight.  It’s the electronic pop duo’s first new music since 2020’s Free Love.

“Sunburn, blistering… but it felt so good,” Amelia Meath sings over Nick Sanborn’s pulsating production.

The song is a study in contrasts, detailing the exhilaration of pursuing pleasure and pushing the envelope — and surviving the consequences later. As the band explained in a statement: “’Sunburn’ is: eating candy til you’re sick; riding your bike too fast down a hill; when you’re five years old and don’t want to get out of the water, and by the end you’re shivering and all your fingers are pruney and your lips are turned purple; an undertow that sneaks up unsuspectingly; the painful pulsing pink of swollen eyelids leftover after a day lying in the sun; plunging forward without time for second-guessing.”

“Sunburn” was recorded at Sylvan Esso’s Betty’s studio in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and at Dahlia Ave in Los Angeles.

This week, Sylvan Esso will perform three headlining shows at Durham Athletic Park from May 19 through 21, marking their biggest hometown shows to date. This summer, the band will hit the road on a tour supporting Odesza and appear at a number of festivals — including Massachusetts’ Solid Sound Festival, Michigan’s Electric Forest and Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful.

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