The retreat of music from a live space into a private affair, hosting mixing consoles and digital workstations hasn’t diminished the quality of its intentions; to free our blood to explore a maze of swinging paths and perception.
Voyage Out, an album of confidence by Chicago four-piece Floatie, welcomes the feeling between arrival and departure. Floatie isn’t bothered by the gasping uncertainty of what to do next, or the sedation of success. Uncommon council given by these grassroots champions made an impact in their Chicago’s DIY community. They have always focused on resilience, group effort and dedication to changing a system of injustice and inequality. On the stage for years, they did not release music until Warm Violet: A Compilation for Chicago Community Jail Support, a mutual-aid project in 2020. The song “In the Night” reappears on Voyage Out, creating an exciting constancy between previously released single “Shiny,” and tracks “Water Recipe” and “Voyage Out.” These four tracks are an entrance to a rhythm through Voyage Out, which chews and smacks without losing flavor.
With almost all of Floatie providing some kind of backing vocal track on Voyage Out, front person Sam Bern’s delivery is both traditional of math rock and unconventional. There’s an almost sugar sensation that coats their voice, which never quite tastes how you expect, but leaves you wanting more.
Bern’s guitar produces a similar effect of solemn grace throughout the album, with Bassist Joe Olson, guitarist Will Wisniewski and drummer Luc Schutz collaborating openly and communicating ideas with sharp precision.
Floatie embodies their community based philosophy into their music. Produced by music veteran Seth Engel, Voyage Out is filled with these moments of surprised anticipation and intuitive focus.
Floatie’s debut comes at a fin de siècle of music culture. The inevitable return of the stage leaves existential questions to DIY unanswered. What is the new responsibility of bands and how can the audience adapt to change? When we reach the musically crafted center, our reward isn’t always clear, nor does it arrive immediately. Pleasurable acceptance comes from the simple existence of resolution. When it does arrive, don’t be afraid. You’re already prepared.
Essential Tracks: “Shiny,” “In The Night’ and “Catch a Good Worm”