Mellow, dreamy and warming to the core – ‘Saigon’ is the latest release from Brighton lo-fi indie collective Raffles.
If you’re a Brighton native, maybe you might recognise Eddie and his crew. Raffles is a collective of sorts, spearheaded by Eddie, involving a wide circle of “talented and enthusiastic friends” who appear from track to track, from gig to gig.
‘Saigon’ is the perfect track to demonstrate why rigidity in membership, songwriting, production, etc. isn’t necessarily needed. Indeed, when creating lo-fi music, it’s probably best to write it in a ‘lo-fi’ manner – Raffles’ fluidity and spontaneity captures this vibe flawlessly. It’s a perpetually soothing track – its two minute runtime repeats the same vocal and guitar melody, insofar as the track could be replayed ad infinitum, though it maintains its subtlety. Listening to ‘Saigon’ on a summer night in a faraway lit-up city, you might not even notice that it’s repeated twenty times – or you may have noticed, but felt comforted in doing so.
Like Raffles’ membership, intricacies swirl in and out throughout the track; distant, cavernous whistling refrains, laughing, swelling synth chords, and an understated bassline. The one constant of the track is Eddie’s acoustic guitar, and his duet vocals with girlfriend and Raffles contributor Ciara – which, as Eddie says himself, “leave[s] people feeling warm without being too sappy.” To this end, the song is written from the perspective of a narrator journeying to somewhere new, messaging the loved one who stayed behind; though the lyrics are purposefully written to encourage personal interpretation.
Reading back on this review, a one-sentence summary comes to mind: ‘Saigon’ is lo-fi indie’s gold standard. From its conception, to its composition, to Raffles themselves, there is an affable ebb and flow that I can’t help but smile at.