"Avalon" (MNRK Music Group)

Contact Sam McAllister about Bathe

Bathe, the radiant R&B duo of singer-songwriter Devin Hobdy and guitarist-producer Corey Smith-West, announce their signing to MNRK Music Group and present their inviting new single/video, “Avalon.” In conjunction, they announce a fall US tour. Formed eight years ago when Hobdy and Smith-West were attending the University of Pennsylvania, the duo, now based in Brooklyn, NY, create music that, on the surface, sounds like a balm for the anxieties of modern life. This flowing sense of ease contributed to their 2021 debut album Bicoastal drawing in more than 30 millions streams. Amid that record’s unhurried grooves, though, were pangs of yearning and desperation that complicated Bathe’s placement in so many chill playlists.


“Avalon” signifies the duo doubling down on this contrast and underlining a split between reality and fantasy, with the title itself referring to both the sensible Toyota sedan and the mythical island paradise. Atop dreamy guitars and a boom-bap beat, Hobdy sings of being listless and unemployed—“out of shape in a rat race with no rules”—before letting his mind wander to more idyllic locales. Listening to the song is like standing in a crowded subway car en route to another longshot job interview as you stare at an ad for a faraway beach; its smoothness is a mirage in itself. For both Hobdy and Smith-West, two millennials entering their 30s who have already endured several corporate layoff cycles, songs like “Avalon” are all-too-relatable slices of life for a generation that’s never known stability, that can only escape by staring at a screen.


After the success of Bicoastal, Bathe came to understand what tens of millions of streams can and can’t do for an artist, both creatively and financially, in today’s music landscape. It gave them confidence to trust their instincts as songwriters. It served as a beacon for like-minded collaborators, who helped them achieve the sound they were striving for. It offered some welcomed financial latitude—though not nearly as much as their friends and family thought it would bring. “Our heads can’t get too big because there’s a reality check around every corner,” Hobdy says. The duo’s next phase is all about those moments when the real world intrudes on our best laid plans, when our inner monologues chafe against the image that’s present to the outside world. Its waters are welcoming, just don’t forget about the undertow.


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