It is by no means irrational that teenage voices — of which exist in pockets at the corners of new media — are rarely perceived as exemplary. Alongside a flurry of loud voices, their words are not lost, only overlooked in a basin of immense content. As young artists nowadays emerge with histrionic and outlandish appeal, scoring mindless attention from others like moths to a flame, those who conversely take an approach laced with relative anonymity get to relay their message and art without shifting their focus. As is the case with 17-year-old Singapore-based musician, Of Methodist, with the release of his debut five-track EP, marked by charming clarity as he dives headfirst into variable fields of sound amidst topical guidance.
Initially, Pvlgrim takes us to sonic territories that might be at risk of being dangerously repetitive, a combined iteration of electronic, pop and R&B seen by the likes of contemporaries How to Dress Well, SOHN and even Wafia. While they begin to pervade the airwaves of pop and alternative radio, perhaps what makes Of Methodist stand out is the weight behind his words. According to the man himself, the EP chronicles the scant complexities of the mind as he moves from one home to the other, encapsulating culture and religion as he attempts a “sonic pilgrimage”, henceforth the title of the record. Formed within a span of five months, the release takes shape with his minimal production aesthetic, defined by tags on his Bandcamp page (some of which might be a little questionable) such as ‘baroque pop’, ‘chill-wave’ and ‘future bass’.
While “Glass Baptism” pilots us into a palette of clean-sounding hi-hats, airy beats and lustre vocals melded with a good dosage of reverberation, it is clear that the punch comes with Of Methodist’s innate lyricism as he punctuates the chorus with “baptize me” layered over shimmering synths. The tunes that follow, “Deadweight” and “Like Incense” offer the same lyrical sensibilities (which may be subversive for some) and undulating melodies, but comes up tinny between trebly vocals and formulaic crescendo hold-offs. As we look to the next track aptly titled “Resonance”, featuring the vocals of Michelle Mouw, this offering is a broad soundscape crafted by the roaring hum of synths and the ebb and flow of the vocals by the two, an instance of how Of Methodist reaches structural success within his tunes.
The introductory EP concludes with “In Ashes”, an interesting choice for the closing as the track is distinctively more upbeat and goes in a little harder than its preludes. Drawing from a fusion of trap and electronica, Of Methodist belts “I’m your shotgun with a trigger / I’m unwreckable in the state of mind”, a conviction that is evident in his debut release. For now, Pvlgrim in its entirety might be a jittery vigil for the young artiste — he recently revealed in an interview his shyness for singing — but he manages to reflect the essential musicality and production stylings of youths today, seeing how he takes on threads by next-generation artistes like Purity Ring, Banks and Emilie Nicolas. Above all, the sounds crafted by those who are daring enough to probe into audial planes despite their juvenescence, will undeniably see hits and misses, but if one thing is for certain, practice will see Of Methodist making perfect of his already material craft.
Available to stream and purchase at ofmethodist.bandcamp.com.