There’s a strange phase in the life cycle of a song, a period of time where it’s not new enough to be played out all the time and where it’s not old enough to have obtained ‘classic’ status. It might pop up if you have your playlist on shuffle or creep into a set unexpectedly when you’re out but you’d never think to play it yourself. There are thousands of these songs, songs that you loved when they dropped three, maybe four years ago and still love now but that have fallen to the back of your library. There’s a unique feeling when you hear one of them again, a mix of nostalgia and bafflement, a sudden rush of memory that in fact this song, this very song that is playing right now, is great, in fact, it’s beyond great and how could you have forgotten about it?
Amber-Simone’s new single ‘Mountains’ sounds like all of those songs combined, and in the best possible way. Hints of early Sampha and SBTRKT collaborations bubble and melt into LuckyMe-esque synths and production tricks, tied together with a cloud rap like dreaminess. There are even hints of the dynamism of artists like Joker as the beat whips from effervescent peaks to thumping drops. Over it all Simone’s voice soars, smooth as velvet and incredibly commanding for an artist on her second single.
It’s a sound that makes perfect sense when you dive into her influences, Niki and the Dove and Metronomy mixed with an early diet of soul and funk. Speaking about the track, Simone said: “Mountains came from having been through a rough few months dealing with a combination of difficulties in music life and also in personal relationships. It was one of those rare cases where a song pretty much writes itself. My best work comes from a place where I ignore other peoples expectations and run with what I genuinely feel – this was one of those songs. Looking back, it makes me happy to think that during one of my most difficult times despite the realities I was facing I still had so much optimism.”
Listen to ‘Mountains’ below.