People Press Play is a Danish collective featuring vocalist Sara Savery and the members of veteran ambient trio Future 3. For her part, Savery acts an extension of the group — her vocals, cooed and submissive, warmly blend into the meticulous instrumentation. Seeing that this essentially is Future 3 plus a vocalist, it seems fair to expect People Press Play to explore the Future 3 rubric in a more direct and expansive manner.
The instrumental “Girl,” highlighted by a delayed, multi-tracked vocal, features snippets of a female voice coming in and out of the mix and ever-present background moans heightened by climaxing electronic clashes. It’s a cathartic introduction, creating mystique, comfort and, most important, an opening for discovery. “Always Wrong” and “These Days” find Savery stepping into the spotlight. These tracks are thickly layered with crisp snare drums, punctuated high-hats, feedback, kick drums and shimmering guitar, yet there’s ample space for Savery to share her world with the listener, and they are inviting moments of repeated pleasure.
But we never get a clear sense of whether this record is meant to be experienced on the listener’s terms or as a shared experience with the band. Savery sounds inviting, compassionate and entirely pleasant. On the other hand, the instrumental ambient tracks are much lonelier. They forcing the listener to discover and nurture their own space. That leaves People Press Play a disjointed emotional experience; the pleasures of discovery with Savery are interrupted by moments of reflective solitude.
Not until the tail end of the record do things start to coalesce, with Savery endlessly lamenting “There’s a road that curls before me.” It hints at a universal moment, one that begs to be shared. They struggle and we struggle, and a moment acknowledging that is worth repeating and revisiting.