I feel like I’ve said this recently, but this is the way to do ’80’s redux. If you’re going to crib so liberally from the pop music of a decade, and update it only by using smarter beats, then your songs have to be ridiculously strong to stand up to it. In ’80’s terms, you need to be “Take On Me” and “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone),” not Toto (just pick a song). You need to be REO Speedwagon, not Foreigner.
I don’t have a ton to say here that I can put into a narrative, so I’m just gonna hit the main points.
Mainly, this is 80’s synth pop done expertly well. The orchestration is lush, dense, super accessible, but complexity is revealed in repeated listens.
Most of the songs feature a female lead vocal, but my fave, “High Enough To Carry You Over” features a male, and, yeah, there’s probably a connection (I just like dudes singing).
Most of the songs are upbeat, but there are a few ballads that, again, are done in the grand ’80’s tradition. (“High Enough To Carry You Over” starts just like Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.”)
The beats are super smart. Modernity strikes in those beats as well as some hip-hop rhythms (“Playing Dead”) and record scratches (“Clearest Blue”).
The production is basically perfect. Lauren Mayberry’s voice is placed right up front but nothing is buried. The modern flourishes and gorgeous synths are there to add to the wondrous songs…nothing gets in the way of everything…everything finds its perfect place to come together to service what are fantastic songs. Or maybe they’re not. Honestly the production is so amazing it may be overcoming mediocre songs, but I doubt it.
So, do you like beautiful sounds? Do you like awesome songs? Do you like perfect production? Then you should listen to this album.
Mix: “High Enough To Carry You Over”
Really Like: “Leave A Trace,” “Keep You On My Side,” “Clearest Blue”
Like: “Never Ending Circles,” “Make Them Gold,” “Empty Threat,” “Down Side Of Me,” “Playing Dead,” “Bury It,” “Afterglow”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Never Ending Circles –
- Leave A Trace –
- Keep You On My Side –
- Make Them Gold –
- Clearest Blue – has the line “every open eye”. Some record scratches in bridge
- High Enough To Carry You Over – sounds so much like Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” at top
- Empty Threat – “turning tides are parting for you” but it sounds like farting. Scots.
- Down Side Of Me –
- Playing Dead –
- Bury It –
- Afterglow –