Slow Learner

PREMIERE | Zyles Releases Seductive ‘Slow Learner’

San Francisco’s indie-pop artist Zyles premieres “Slow Learner” on CelebMix.

Describing the song, Zyles says, “‘Slow Learner’ epitomizes summertime Zyles. It’s carefree, flirty, and full of an openness I associate with escaping the grind of the day-to-day. In last year’s warmer season single “Sundresses” we were on vacation in wine country. This time, we’re on an airplane, where we’re confronted with a great meeting story: the narrator on a business trip and a vacationing neighbor. Watch out for great meeting stories though. I have a cousin who met her ex-husband on an airplane. It turned out to be a lousy marriage despite the great meeting.”

Originally from Manhattan, Zyles, aka Zach Yellin-Flaherty, grew up playing rock and blues, and then underwent formal training in jazz. Later, he attended Stanford University, playing the jazz orchestra and studying in China. During his time in China, he decided to use the re-romanization of his Chinese name as his stage name, (Ye Zi Li) – Zyles.

After graduating, Yellin-Flaherty lived in San Francisco, working in the tech sector for a decade, followed by liberating his musical muse as Zyles. His sound amalgamates elements of retro and modern pop with production polished to a high, smooth sheen. It’s a sound probably best described as “urbane pop.”

“Slow Learner” opens on retro-flavored keyboards topped by Zyles’ creamy falsetto, infusing the lyrics with quixotic zesty flavors. A plump bass line and crisp percussion drive the pop-flavored melody, as skiffing guitars add cool accents. Gleaming, iridescent synths imbue the harmonics with velvety coruscating hues.

The contrast between Zyles’ silky falsetto and the bright and glossy layer of color from the synths, along with the throbbing pulse of the hefty bass line, provides the music with an ebullient mood, both charming and persuasive. The upbeat, exultant ambience functions as a sonic ear worm, percolating into your aural cavity generating a seductive irresistible pattern. Before you know it, you’re moving to the groove and singing along with the lyrics.

“Found you on an airplane / You were flying first-class / I just scored an upgrade / I was doing business, You were on vacation / Hours in the air, I started eyeing your libations / What’s the occasion And where are you from / Either we met before, else we’ve got a lot in common.” And then the delicious hook: “Baby you should know / I’m a slow, slow learner / A slow learner / A slow learner.”

“Slow Learner” is delightful and superb, full of burnished textures, an alluring rhythm, and the scrumptious falsetto of Zyles.

Zyles will be performing at Brick and Mortar in San Francisco on June 26.

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Written by Randy

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.