Bibio – “Town & Country” (Singles Going Steady)

Bibio's "Town & County" evokes Aja-era Steely Dan, certainly in terms of the slick jazz/pop leanings.

Emmanuel Elone: From the catchy guitar groove to the smooth bass and clean drums, “Town & Country” is an amazing listen. And, even though the instrumental is beautifully composed, Bibio’s vocals steal the show. Imagine Passion Pit’s voice without the sickeningly sweet diabetic-inducing sound. The backing music perfectly complements Bibio’s voice, and the result is simply perfect. [8/10]

Pryor Stroud: Excavating the emotional core beneath the glossy, overproduced veneer of mid ’70s Philly soul, Bibio’s “Town & County” bounds with the lightness-of-step that follows the revelation that your hardships, desires, and hopes are no longer meant to be experienced alone. This reciprocity of feeling — my burden is your burden, my longing, your longing — is not particularly anomalous in pop songwriting, but the fact that Bibio scrawls the entire lyric around his lover’s pastoral daydream, without a single mention of himself or his affiliation to it, is strikingly unconventional. Yet he doesn’t really need to mention himself; his words affirm that her yearnings have, for the moment, completely effaced his own, one ego dying for another ego’s life, and the track’s exulting melodic jaunt-forward prove that this effacement is pure bliss. The whole track is straddled across a spry, running-away-from-itself electric organ melody that arcs and whirls with a wistfulness reaching the toes, but this wistfulness never feels despairing. There’s always the sense that the future holds relief for both of them. Basically, “Town & Country” sounds like a hand-in-hand leap over a dilapidated fence into some privately-imagined pasture-fantasy. “Your dream is somewhere in the country / You crave the air and all the flowers that are free to gather / There,” Bibio sings, and it’s this “There”, dropped down incidentally right before he runs out of breath, necessary to the verse’s completion but enunciated as an afterthought, that best captures the place they’re seeking: a “There” that’s essential yet fleeting, that’s impossible to pinpoint or trace for anyone but the lovers who, together, imagined it into being. [9/10]

Chris Ingalls: I completely dig this, even though the whole thing has a professional sheen to it that makes it almost seem pressed and dry-cleaned. For obvious reasons, my mind automatically drifts to Steely Dan, certainly in terms of the slick jazz/pop leanings (it could almost be an Aja outtake, right down to the compact, note-perfect guitar solo), but the vocals have a much more earnest quality than anything that smart-ass Donald Fagen would ever attempt. Perhaps if Kevin Parker decided to make a sequel to Gaucho, it would sound something like this. [8/10]

Chad Miller: Feel good music with additional depth imbued in the lyrics. Instrumentation is particularly notable as many different instruments flow effortlessly into another. [7/10]

Bibio’s new album A Mineral Love releases 1 April 2016 via Warp Records.

SCORE: 8.00