Scott Delta & Astral Trap - "Only Friends" Review

When Music Mondays interviewed the collective ENYU in March, We mentioned excitement for the continued output of their members. The extraordinarily talented group has released some of our favorite music of the past couple years and have shown no signs of slowing down, with Scott Delta’s ‘Sabina’ EP and Illmana’s ‘Wake Up!’ EP dropping back-to-back in February of this year. With the release of Scott Delta and underground legend Astral Trap’s lead single ‘Only Friends’ off of their upcoming full-length project, ‘Summer of No Love’, this excitement has grown stronger than ever.


Scott Delta is a 24 year-old artist/producer from St. Louis, currently based in the Pacific Northwest. She has joined forces with fellow PNW artist Astral Trap for the full-length LP ‘Summer of No Love’, a grandiose exploration of hip-hop, R&B, and soul wrapped into 21 minutes of glory, due for release on July 14th. ‘Only Friends’ is the first and only single from the project at the time of writing, having dropped in late May. While the LP as a whole features production and performances from both artists, this track is solely produced by Astral Trap, with Scott Delta providing the vocals throughout.

The song opens with a hypnotic electric piano section accentuated by an echoing whistle, the lush soundscape evoking feelings of serenity before diving into the hook. As the beat drops, a flurry of percussion enters the mix– the sound design is masterful and eclectic with the hi-hat rolls feeling both muted and piercing, dusty kicks and a fuzzy bassline providing the main groove of the track. Delta reaches into her melodic bag for this hook; while not as vocally ambitious as some of her performances on the R&B-influenced ‘Sabina’, the catchy chorus suits the more straightforward hip-hop production of this song, having immediately gotten stuck in my head for days after listening.

Delta delivers a brief verse, gliding back and forth between different cadences and melodies while retaining cohesion to her tight flow, a skill she has perfected throughout her discography. She is at her best when exploring different timbres of her voice and finding the most memorable pockets in any instrumental, and her verse on ‘Only Friends’ is a perfect example of Delta’s ear for melody and rhythm. The drums drop out momentarily as the verse concludes; as they come back in throughout the next repetitions of the hook, something beautiful happens. The cadences she explored throughout her verse come back in full force as she samples her own lines, which repeat in different layers of the mix— even while two different sections of Delta’s verse repeat over the hook, and even with the introduction of gorgeous backing vocals as the song progresses, the mix never feels crowded or muddy. The different deliveries of each line in contrast with the hook work together to create a stunningly robust sonic environment, with her engineering prowess shining as each element of this track still comes through as clear as day, instrumental included. There is a brief outro, comprised of the electric piano chords and whistle along with the main hi-hat pattern, offering a brief reprieve from the massive peak of the song as it concludes.

Scott Delta continues to set the bar Heaven-high, and her performance on this track is just another example of her musical prowess and star power. While I am curious to see what Astral could have done with a verse on this song, his production and sound selection shine bright as the perfect backdrop to Delta’s croon. I look forward to seeing their sounds mesh in the context of a full-length record later this month, and especially to witness Astral’s pure talent as a rapper over Scott Delta production (as well as the fusion of their signature styles on tracks with joint production). In retrospect, the chemistry from their standout 2022 single ‘Sea of Trees’ was a neon-lit sign that they had plenty more to offer as a duo– and if this song is anything to go by, their project ‘Summer of No Love’ is going to be the soundtrack to many summers ahead.

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Written By xoarctic: