Agaaze is the name of a bedroom pop outfit entirely driven by 20-year-old singer and guitarist, Agathya Visveswaran of Rochester, NY. In his own words, this sophomore release, For You, tells “the story of a young protagonist, who is enveloped by a desire to live in a dreamland created by his own mind, but eventually learns to accept the joy of the present moment.”
This seven-song album previously received rave reviews, including one from indie blog, Pitch Perfect, and is classified as electro-pop and hip hop mixed with psychedelic rock. It should come as no surprise to first-time listeners that Agaaze wears the Tame Impala influence directly on his sleeve. This style of bedroom pop mixed with psychedelic drops of guitar has no doubt been done before, but what matters is how creative the execution is on For You.
Framed as a sort of TV series with each track serving as one of its episodes, it premieres with whirling ambience on “The Door.” Synth-heavy and driven by plenty of bass and programmed beats, the song then introduces some classical guitar licks, adding to the mystical allure of Agaaze. It plays out as an extended jam session with lyrics thrown in at the beginning. It’s something special.
In the second episode, “Lately,” Agaaze introduces hip hop flows to his musical palette. I’d argue that this contains what is easily the catchiest melody on this release. Nostalgic bass and sub bass synths provide a bouncy electro funk-reminiscent rhythm to this song. It’s not quite as psychedelic, and yet it still sounds like Tame Impala. “I Don’t Got Time for This Today” starts off with a phone faintly ringing before diving headfirst into a splashy house beat. Throughout the track, there is also much guitar noodling.
Fourth episode and lead single, “Cinnamon Paradise,” is the album’s centerpiece. Funky bass tones, keys and psych rock guitar dominate this cut. It’s a six-minute “letter to a crush,” and considering how slinky it sounds, I can see why. By the second half of this song, we get to hear more of Agaaze’s uniquely subdued style of rapping, underpinned by thumping kick drums.
“Still Water” is next. This song is the most streamed track from For You. It’s easy to see why because this is the most kaleidoscopic of the seven episodes. Of particular enjoyment is the guitar solo towards the end and the ‘60s-esque rhythm, the latter of which is replicated by drum machines. The pitched down vocals and acidic synths on “Are You Real?” are cool, and they only become cooler the more you listen to it. These dark hip hop beats and heavily reverbed words will recall Massive Attack at their most sinister. At last, we reach the seventh and final episode, “You and Me,” which is, lyrically speaking, a breakup song.
However, its shades of optimism reflected in the melodic vocals make it sound much brighter and more fun than a slow and sad piano ballad. The toe-tapping, Glass Animals-like percussion is a real treat to hear, especially with headphones on. With For You, Agaaze once again captivates listeners with a modern psychedelic fever dream of a record. The vision he has for his music is simply remarkable, and if he continues to put out bangers like this, then I’d say that there is a lot to look forward to!