In the heart of Toronto’s indie music scene, Alex Southey stands as a distinct voice, a singer-songwriter whose sonic evolution has been nothing short of fascinating. Released on November 23rd, 2023, his single “I Think I Smell a Melody” is a testament to Southey’s ability to defy expectations and carve out a unique niche within the folk and indie genres.
Southey’s musical journey began in 2019 as a solo acoustic artist, and with each subsequent release, he has garnered positive recognition and a passionate fanbase. His latest single follows the explosive, emotive Common Fantasies EP, released earlier in 2023, showcasing an artist unafraid to push boundaries and explore new sonic territories.
The track opens with a familiar acoustic guitar, reminiscent of Southey’s earlier work, but that’s where the predictability ends. “I Think I Smell a Melody” takes a departure from the tight and pop-infused “Never Listen,” opting instead for a more experimental and dreamlike soundscape. The loosely double-tracked vocals and rhythm guitar set the stage, and then a delicate blend of mellotron, cello, and strings enter, adding layers of complexity to the composition.
While Southey initially recorded the majority of the track in his Toronto condo bedroom with minimal instrumentation, the final magic came together through the skilled hands of mixing and mastering engineer Alex Gamble. The result is a musical tapestry that feels like an old body in a tailored suit—comfortable yet refined.
In a recent interview with Oh Marlene Music PR, Southey revealed that the title, “I Think I Smell a Melody,” began as a joke, emphasizing the lightheartedness despite the seemingly mysterious and dark undertones of the lyrics. The song weaves through themes of risk, instability, and spring imagery, creating a paradoxically light yet nuanced listening experience.
What sets this single apart is its simplicity. Mostly driven by Southey’s acoustic guitar and vocals, with a slow hum of strings in the background, “I Think I Smell a Melody” channels a Bon Iver-esque atmosphere. The sparse use of drums towards the end adds a dynamic layer, elevating the song’s intensity just as Southey declares, “I think I smell a melody.”
Eschewing the high-quality studios for a more modest production approach, Southey’s decision to return to his roots pays off, giving the track an authentic and intimate feel. The song is a photo out of focus, a deliberate departure from the polished sound of his previous works.
While “I Think I Smell a Melody” might not have been an obvious choice for a second single, Southey’s inclination towards the unexpected is what makes the track stand out. In the ever-expanding landscape of indie folk, Southey invites listeners into a world where predictability is left at the door, and the joy lies in the unexpected.
In the end, “I Think I Smell a Melody” is a refreshingly smooth piece of music, a testament to Alex Southey’s artistic courage and commitment to sonic exploration. As the Toronto-based artist continues to captivate audiences with his evocative sound, one can only anticipate what intriguing melodies he’ll conjure up next.