Dance music and electronica, more than any other genre, has long provided a means to escape from the mundanities and sorrows of daily life. With its pulsing beats and minimal lyrics, it’s easy to see how most songs of its ilk would be a great way to forget about one’s troubles and dance the night away, even if just temporarily. Yet every so often, a dance track comes around that’s simultaneously escapist and thought-provoking — a song that captures a specific vibe, to create a piece of purposeful pop. With their new collaboration on “Howl,” Elderbrook and Tourist achieve such a feat.

Both noted electronica artists hailing from the UK, Elderbrook and Tourist are each accomplished musicians and producers in their respective careers — having, separately, remixed songs by Clean Bandit and Sam Smith, won Grammy Awards and produced dance music known for nuance and subtlety. Such is the case with “Howl,” which showcases both artists at their best. The song is lyrically spare, save for the repeated mantra of “Oh, hey, little love / You really turn my life around” for the vast majority of the song, and opening lyrics like, “Barefoot nights / Naked breeze / Holding you / Holding me / In August light / It’s hard to be / Leaving you / Leaving me / With that howl / With that howl.” Elderbrook — noted for his flawless and emotive vocals — sings the lyrics incredibly well throughout, possibly due to the song’s emotional inspiration:

“‘Howl’ is written about my daughter, Adaline. How she would find it difficult to sleep and how it has been difficult to leave her.”

With “Howl,” the emotional highs build up to a crescendo at various points. The song — while it beats along at a steady rhythm and definitely can inspire anyone to cast off their worries and dance — also surpasses initial expectations for how moving a track it is. Not only is it lyrically profound with its sentiments of separation, but it’s also effective in growing that sense of subtle “bloom,” akin to the blossoming of a flower. The song might be deemed “repetitive,” but there are genuinely subtle, nuanced differences to the way each chorus plays out, making listeners lean in closer to hear all the changes as they take place. It’s a song that reflects its emotions very well, and makes one think a bit deeper as they take in the track’s powerful and profound vibe that everything — even when apart from those we love — makes us stronger and will turn out okay.

In addition to his release of “Howl” and “Unbothered” — a collaboration with ZHU — Elderbook is touring this month with electronica duo ODESZA throughout North America. You can buy tickets for the tour here, and you should definitely listen to Elderbook’s collaboration with Tourist, “Howl,” below!

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