UK-based Cariss Auburn brilliantly combines 90s R&B influence with modern alt-pop on her new single, "Float." The track marks Auburn's first of 2021, and a debut under label Modern Sky.
Sonically, "Float" has a contemporary R&B instrumental with synths, 808s, and rapid electronic percussion. Auburn provides an alluring contrast to this backdrop with angelic, high-pitched vocals and catchy lyrics. This makes for a bouncy, alt-pop track with a sound reminiscent of Little Dragon and Rina Sawayama, both strong influences on Auburn's sound. With vivid imagery and symbolism, the track tackles themes of relationships and the tug-of-war of emotions that comes with them. Auburn displays enormous strength by being candid with her feelings throughout the track. Describing her attitude towards the song, she says "personally 'Float' is about me doing the best I can...these are things I’m dealing with right now, but it’s ok to take time for yourself."
As is heard in the track, the Wolverhampton native has a number of different influences that shine in her music. Growing up, Auburn was surrounded with the songs of musical idols including classic R&B artists like Mary J. Blige and The Pointer Sisters and indie rock groups like Arcade Fire. It's this array of influences that have slowly helped define her own style.
Auburn also shared her inspiration for the track, citing Japanese art collective Mé's piece Contact. "You go into a white room and you’re suddenly confronted by what appears to be this mass of dark, opaque water," she describes. "It feels like you could drown at any moment but it’s actually solid. You’re factually in a position of complete control but still feel a sense of foreboding because of the power in that slice of ocean." This definitely gives some more insight into Auburn's lyrical choices for the song: "You move just like a wave / and I'm pushed and pulled away."
Check out the music video for "Float" above and click here to listen via streaming services.