Bellingham, WA, is a secluded city nestled near the American border with Canada, surrounded in every direction by forests, mountain ranges, and the vast Pacific Ocean. Yet from this bleak settlement a small oasis of tropical pop has emerged, completely juxtaposed with the rain-drenched climate that surrounds it. This is the hidden world of Manatee Commune, an alter-ego of Grant Eadie, a self-described "bedroom electronic" musician. He creates lush, gently unfolding soundscapes, infused with a deep yearning for human contact and discontent with the mundanities of small-town America.
It's this yearning that's most present on Clay, his latest single. He's enlisted a fantastic guest vocalist in Marina Price, another Bellingham local who, despite the music being so insistently upbeat, manages to bring some insecurity to the line "are you busy? Could you meet me for a lemonade? I just want you to feel okay".
Clay welcomes you in from the winter cold into a tropical garden, so steamy it fogs your glasses up in an instant, and leaves you blindly wondering at the effervescent chirps and whistles arising around you. Softly clicking beats emerge, rustling, from the undergrowth, a twee glockenspiel chimes steadily in the background, and a flock of recorders take centre stage with an infectiously catchy melody. It's electronic pop at its most perky, in the vein recently mined by artists like Clean Bandit, and less recently, Röyksopp. The sounds conjured by Eadie are impressive, a range of synthetic miscellanies that shouldn't work but somehow do, and transport the listener far from the damp conifer forests of Eadie's homeland.
At a time of year when we find the nights approaching earlier and earlier each day, and the bitter winds biting when we go out, this song brings a warm glow of optimism that we can all use to see the winter through.
Every Wednesday, one of our young contributors picks a piece of music that has meant something to them in the past seven days. Get in touch if you have a track to tell us about!