by Allison Kridle
I can’t seem to pinpoint anything more dazzling and soft than Athens-based band, Locate S,1’s newest album Healing Contest. Flushed with front woman Christina Schneider’s velvety falsetto and jazzy melodies that often mold into pop ballads, the project bends in many different ways and in a few different directions. This makes sense considering the singer songwriter teamed up with Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes, who produced and engineered Healing Contest. With a duo like this, it’s no wonder the zany and sharp album landed oh so well.
Schneider is a natural hypnotizer. In almost every track she wields her voice to a crystalized whisper that pairs nicely with the consistent low bass heard throughout the album. The track “Manrico’s Abyss,” holds true to its name. The song feels like a never ending space that her airy vocals float through, bouncing gently from wall to wall. Along with a plugged bass, she adds twang and sprinkles soft chimes into the composition.
Many of Locate S,1’s songs follow this vein, but on the other hand, they don’t follow anything at all. The easy-going melodies contain just enough crunch that leave no room for boredom or mindless drifting. In the beginning, all signs point to the track “Free Luck,” as a light hip-hop song. It showcases swaying beats, a clapping sound effect and a bubbly electric guitar. The deeply buried “genre is real” idea in my brain just about exploded. But that’s what we all need.
Healing Contest could be viewed as one of those elusive albums that truly has at least one track for everyone. The final song, “2 Cents Below 6,” includes a lovely piano and horn that a jazz club would give a thumbs up to, whereas the first song “Owe it 2 the Girls,” sparks a vision of teens in the 60’s bobbing and spinning on the beach. Locate S.1 does not dwell in a box and won’t stick their listeners in one either.