Svvell.’s Ode to Uncertainty is a Sure-Footed Display of Heady Musicality

The comeback single from Svvell. sees form and content in another starry entanglement: careening towards dissonance but never reaching collapse. Yoo Han Ko and co. deliver the goods once again.

Svvell. has always wielded a subdued power. And much of that subdued power is nestled in some curious clashing of the elements.

And by “elements” I don’t mean just audio stuff.

Beyond tracks and plug-ins, I mean the earth, the seas, and the skies: they trade in dirt, they dowse things in icy reverb, and they harmonize like airy polar kings.

“Muddle,” their comeback single, is no different. Yet another wallower, it perfectly soundtracks—for singer Yoo Han Ko at least—the past few years’ “autopilot of confusion and uncertainty.”

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“The track is mainly about being in a muddle about what, how and when everything became what it currently is and not being certain what will be,” he adds further.

There is a dangling, suspended quality to “Muddle” that doesn’t necessarily equate to a feeling of incompleteness. In a world obsessed with the haughty declarative, what Svvell. offers here is an idea, or the sound of an idea.

Okay, it’s like a jam. But not all jams approach the sublime. Most of them are disguised pissing contests, some of them akin to thinly veiled gear demos.

In the tasteful hands of Ko, drummer Jonas Berol, bassist Kent Aguilar, and guitarists Anton Atienza and Ralph Tan, however, circling a musical theme isn’t an aimless exercise; it’s ballet.

Though one still senses hallmarks from the band’s landmark EP ‘Hypermnesia¬’—melodically inspired, lyrically distant, always with a stylish languor—what’s lacking in “Muddle” is resolve. And I mean that both technically and stylistically.

But perhaps that’s form and content in another starry entanglement: the notes careening close to dissonance but never quite crossing; the movement spiraling towards inevitable repetition but never quite succumbing.

In other words, it can be argued that the suspendedness of it all—the dizzying peek into an improbable abyss—is best conveyed through this unaccountable caesura of music and mood and meaning.

“There is beauty in knowing that you don’t really know anything, [that] you just know that you feel a certain change but you don’t really see it. ‘Muddle’ is our ode to uncertainty,” the band says.

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