Freetown Sound, June 2016
While Cupid Deluxe (2013) dealt with heartbreak and pain, Freetown Sound deals with oppression on a far deeper level.
You can feel London-born Devonte Hynes smirking through the sarcastic, kitsch title Cupid Deluxe, a collection which truly captures the melting pot of confusion, rejection and obsession that comes with an emotionally destructive relationship. You’re not good enough, It is what it is, Always let u down, it’s sad but it’s real mannn. The fusion of R&B slash soul slash 80s electro after Dev’s hiatus from previous project Lightspeed Champion, gave this release a refreshing intrigue.
But Freetown Sound is next level. It’s dense. It incorporates poignant interview sample (Desiree), modern, honest simplicity (Best to you), damn-right drool evoking funk, groove and flickers of 90s video game (E.V.P.) and jazz coupled with tense spoken word (With Him). It deals with race, sexuality and identity – buzz words from your high school essays.
Best to You was clearly going to be the most popular on Spotify as it reminds us that Dev wrote Everything is Embarrassing for Sky Ferreira in 2013 and is probably the only song that doesn’t offer something new to the previous stuff. It’s E.V.P. though which is the shining star here.
FATHER JOHN MISTY
Real Love Baby, June 2016
Father John Misty delivers a brocade of elaborately written indie-folk that is nothing new (format-wise) but is bluntly original in content and delivery.
I Love you Honeybear (2015) was packed with songs which spiral and unfold in a constant thread of honest dialogue. Chateau Lobby #4 was a perfect example of this continuous story-telling, enriched with lavish romance and brassy garden-party moments. When you’re smiling and astride me was painfully romantic with classy 70s vibes. But other tracks on the album were cynical and melancholic; Holy Shit dealt with the sadness of life’s brief encounters: “so I’ve heard no one really knows you”.
In this latest release, Joshua Tillman certainly keeps the pet-names – “I’m a flower, you’re my bee”, but offers a new rhythm, a lightness which has ditched the dense storytelling prose of the previous album. The track projects some serious similarities to Paul McCartney-written Beatles tunes, it’s brilliantly simple and upbeat with a steady hand-clappingly joyful chorus. The paint-splattered, Caribou style cover design positions this single in not quite as ludicrous or ornate a fashion as the other cover art. It will be interesting to see what comes next.
Summer 08, July 2016
Metronomy are not predictable. The English Riviera (2011) was kind of… polite and delicate but still – a spoonful of electro helps the kids get down. Corinne was fun and filled with quirky lyrics, the electro-pop winner of the album. Then came Love Letters (2013) which was confusingly innovative at the time, completely different to other releases that year in what we thought was Metronomy’s “category”. It turns out they don’t really have a category.
The Upsetter is the opening of Love Letters and was an acoustic, emotional tug but still managed to retain the same humorous vocals and sarcasm apparent in I’m Aquarius. The tracks all kind of mocked modern relationships and our obsession with being “the same”: “Cause you’re a novice and I’m a Taurus and we’ve had problems, we’re notorious for them”. Monstrous also mocked the listener with its bizarre intro and Love Letters was a bit of a joke with (ironically) another “monstrous” intro before an explosion of chorus. But it was great!
And this year they present to us a 70s infused collection of psychedelic funk tracks with stupid but endearing lyrics. Back Together initially sounds like it’s been influenced by Bloc Party but casually erupts into an expertly unpredictable piece with boisterous drums and a disco finish. The lyrics of course are sarcastic. Miami Logic has vocals which tease and excite, the high parts igniting a real warmth: “I saw it on a television show”.
But it’s the dance-funk of Old Skool which is refreshingly…sexy and is a perfect example of how Metronomy have kept their bitter, arrogant lyrics but transformed the noise surrounding it.
Every Now and Then, July 2016
Latest release from Jagwar Ma O B 1 off the upcoming album Every Now and Then retains some elements of their previous upbeat, repetitive fun, but adds a new layer of electronic dance music. They didn’t get rid of the summery beach-boy style choruses but they did bring their music to a new pill popping audience with added reverb and suitable lyrics “you warm me up, get me down”.
While Howlin’ was fun in tone it dealt with a cute but genuine lack of confidence with lyrics like: “Come and save me”, “I’m not the man you need”, “I don’t think you want me like I want you”. The pinnacle of this is Uncertainty which references the album’s title Howlin’ and booms over the other tracks making a statement, an outcry from three isolated Aussie musicians.
But O B 1 has a new found confidence and questions “What do I see in you?” it turns it around, we are no longer questioning these lads – they are questioning us. It suggests the new album will bring an ironic but fresh wave of assurance.
Pool, Feb 2016
New York, tight jeaned and misunderstood Aaron Maine forms Porches, occasionally alongside a group of equally attractive, vintage-jumper-wearing brunettes. His/their album Slow Dance in the Cosmos (2013) was as cutting edge as…Donut King. Donut get me wrong, it’s still tasty, folk rock welcome in the latest independent movie flick. Twinged with satisfyingly depressing lyrics: “When you wake up and you don’t want to die anymore” the album constantly makes reference to being 17, young and confused. Just look at him chilling in his discontent:
But 2016 Pool balances indie with electro in a sublime and mature way. The whole album is spiked with recurring themes (water, form, separation) and is ordered nicely despite the dull minimalist titles. Bubbling synth and repetitive drums run pretty much throughout but there is beauty in the laddered, high vocals and scattered silence. If you end up liking this album check out Deptford Goth. It’s not Goth music, it’s more of this minimalist electro indie stuff that the cool kids are sipping gin and juice to.