The electronic pop fluidity of No Thank You, John is something to behold. Musical architect John Cotton certainly knows his way around the wires and cabled pathways of these undulating electric sounds, but he’s also interested in how he can fit a particular pop elasticity into these rhythmic adaptations. Woozy melodies and synth-soaked arrangements all lay bare his desire to create a sound that both pays homage to his extensive influences and focuses on his own inspirations.
In the past, Cotton has seen fit to explore the wobbly expanses of synth pop, as well as a bit of folk-tinged indie pop, but more recently, he seems far more fascinated by the former line of musical thought. His humanist approach to synthetic music has given him a wondrously insightful perspective on how and why these sounds should be pulled apart and rearranged. Beneath the superficial artificiality of his electronic impulses, there beats a heart imbued with a restless and rolling creativity.
On his recent single, “Bottom,” Cotton throws himself into a gauzy stretch of synth pop that unfurls naturally, rising and building until the eventual release is held aloft by a rush of intense euphoria and vivid revelations. Accompanied by Rachelle Barr (of Chattanooga band Dream Jurnal) this time out, he fashions a lively but subtle electronic landscape where his instincts for organic composition have given him an unusually astute viewpoint on how best to explore this collision of personal experiences and the resulting sounds.
Aqueous synths rise up from the deep ocean floor to meet his robotic vocals, creating a noise that’s equal parts musical sublimation and ecstatic pop adventurism. Keys plink and echo from one ear to the other as melodies rise and fall in cascading waves of sound—it all amounts to a subdued fluorescence that clings to your brain like honey. It feels like a perfect evolution of his earlier work and finds him reaching further and digging deeper into that creeping circuital haze from which he so effortlessly plucks his music.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.