Tag Archives: miami horror

ALBUM REVIEW: Passion Pit – Kindred (2015)

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This article first appeared on The Daily Listening.

It doesn’t feel that long since Gossamer hit the waves, but three years definitely feels like too long. It’s something that not a lot of bands possess, longevity. I guess you could chalk it up to consistent albums that brandished so many infectious individual singles. Either that or they’ve just gone unnoticed, but I’d find that hard to believe. It’s a trend that Brooklynites Passion Pit continued as they busted back onto the scene in a huge way earlier this year to lead up to the grand opening of their third studio album Kindred, which hit the stores this week.

Kindred opens up with old school Passion Pit circa Manners era, with the wholly traditional and hugely impressive “Lifted Up (1985)”. It’s a beautiful, uplifting tune that sparks curiosity and happiness while still holding an obvious serious message within the depths of the lyrics. The vocals are more defined, more appropriate and all-round just spot on. It’s the first true sign that Passion Pit are back in a way that could transport you back to those glory days when they first graced your ears.

“Whole Life Story” shows off a deeper register in the vocals, peeking its head through a funky vibe that spruiks positivity to a happy-go-lucky beat. At this point, we’re starting to piece together the clues that indicate we’re back those old-school memories of the act, but that’s flipped all over the place by the third track “Where The Sky Hangs”. There’s a tinge of new age eighties and funk intertwined with this strange that points to the influence of perhaps a range of different Australian acts like Miami Horror or Cut Copy.

Now we’re starting to get a real feel for Kindred, and “Five Foot Ten (I)” delivers more absolute pop brilliance. It’s one of the easier to swallow tracks on the album, smashing through static synth and samples with memorable pop melodies lain cleverly over the top. Putting it real simply, this one a is a fucking fun tune.

We get all touchy-feely as we hit the song “Dancing On The Grave”, with childlike chimes and melancholic lyrics. Aptly named for a ballad, this one rips the party atmosphere of the last track away before you’ve had a chance to catch your breath. It’s not the best single on the album, and will surely be overlooked by most. But it’s a decent little number if you’re feeling sad, so I say wait for the right moment before you crack in the earbuds on this one.

“Until We Can’t (Let Go)” is the latest single to be put forward in line with the album and it’s obvious why they chose this one as one of the headliners to give way to the album releases big bang. It’s catchy, unique and bloody powerful. You can imagine this being pumped live at a festival like Coachella, kids with their arms in the air while they dominate the crowd with the lyrics “let’s go ‘til we can’t anymore”. It’s a truly inspiring piece of musical work.

“My Brother Taught Me How To Swim” and the auto-tune infused “Ten Feet Tall (II)” are the appropriate way to leave behind Kindred. Two tracks that have a lot of heart. But really, it’s a repeated notion. The whole album has a shit-tonne of heart. It’s filled to the brim with dance, with pop and with inspiring, first-class music on the whole.

Now that I’ve heard Kindred, I’ll be honest. I’m going to miss Passion Pit for the next three years. But while I’m being honest, what they’ve really executed with this album is one more faithful believer that will happily sit on these awesome tracks for another three years until they’re ready to feed me with more awesomeness. Well played Passion Pit, well played.

*****

8.9 / 10

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ALBUM REVIEW: Say Lou Lou – Lucid Dreaming (2015)

say lou lou lucid dreaming

This article first appeared on The AU Review.

Everybody knows I have a thing for Scandinavian indie. Swedish indie exports are at an all-time high at the moment and leading the assault are quality acts like electro-pop duo Say Lou Lou. Despitespending well over 90% of their time in Stockholm, it’s also interesting to note that twin sisters Miranda and Elektra Kibley-Janssen are one-half Aussie. It’s only minimal I know, but in their latest effort Lucid Dreaming, there’s something inherently ‘Triple-J-esque’ about it all and on first listen I’d be proud as all hell to claim even 1% of it as Australian made.

Kicking off the ordeal at a mountainous high is the single “Everything We Touch”. Released late last year in early anticipation of Lucid Dreaming, the track is complete with deep, brooding verses that build up tastefully into a chorus that’s hard to deny. It’s a powerful song that shows a rock-solid belief in their abilities, leading with the words “everything we touch turns to gold”, and pushing that notion well into the final seconds of the track. Often an album is summed up in it’s first couple of songs. If you tend to fade by track two or three you can say goodbye to my interest, I’ll buy the single. Luckily for Say Lou Lou, I bought into that confidence in the first track because song two, “Glitter” isn’t much to write home about.

You’ll be happy to give this album more than one try, because as soon as “Games For Girls” kicks in you realise the previous track is an anomaly and the rest is hard to put down. This single hit some waves among the blogs of the world because of it’s noticeable difference from the rest of the Say Lou Lou collection. It’s a look into the potential these guys have for dance hits, carrying a steadier, upbeat tempo that could be evident in something like an RAC or Miami Horror remix. “Beloved” treads along the same path as a lot of the other tracks on this album, but it’s a cracker of a song. It’s an uplifting electronic ballad that hits a beautiful peak as it reaches each chorus with heartbreak personified through melancholic vocals.

“Wilder Than The Wind” has something hugely nineties about it. Like a whispered, indie take on Mariah Carey or something like that. Maybe not exactly, I wasn’t too in tune back in those days, but you get the drift. The beat drags a bit in the verses, so much that it can sometimes feel like the rest of the elements should be playing catch up. It’s one of those rainy day songs that might only feel right for a listen if the mood fits.

Their most recent single, “Nothing But A Heartbeat” is where this album truly takes a swing in a whirlwind of pop brilliance. An epic, breezy tune that is dark, but oddly affirming. I guess you could say that for a lot of the singles on this album. Others that came previously on the album like “Angels (Above Me)”, or “Julian” have a similar vibe. Dual vocals permeate these tracks, bouncing between catchy falsetto and solid stand-your-ground type melodies. Like an impressive con, Say Lou Lou play their audience throughout Lucid Dreaming with a sneaky seductive underlying, while being well aware of the fierce confidence they bring in all of their lyrics and melodies.

The album bows out on “Skylights”, one of the more straight forward arrangements on the release. It’s a nice, easy way to go out, laced with enjoyable vocal melodies that chug through at the forefront of a slow-tempo beat and locomotive like synth. It has that outro feel that most tracks do when they’re placed lucky last on an album, and is simply put the logical way to finish this album.

Lucid Dreaming is an appropriate name for this effort by Say Lou Lou. Like a dream, the album is an up-and-down experience. Some of it is powerfully vivid and the other feels half-awake. It’s largely sequential and hazy, streaked with some impressive vocal work ranging from deep and finite to masterfully thin. Where the album shines brightest is when bordering on mainstream pop. The singles like “Nothing But A Heartbeat”, “Games For Girls” and “Everything We Touch” are stellar highlights that will stick in your head, whereas the rest get pigeon-holed in the realm of emotionally meaningful, but not memorable. Overall, it’s a quality album that deserves at least a week or two straight of repeat playing.

*****

7.8 out of 10

Lucid Dreaming is out now in Australia via iTunes and for stream on Spotify.

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Miami Horror – Love Like Mine (feat. Cleopold)

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Back in the days that Melbournites Miami Horror first launched, I wasn’t stupid crazy about them like the rest of the world apparently was. With other acts like Cut Copy and The Presets at the height of their festival fame, Miami Horror seemed to take a backseat, at least when it came to my regular playlist. But late into last year I had the pleasure of interviewing frontman Ben Plant and it got me listening more and more in prep, and I fell absolutely head over heels for their latest efforts.

I don’t think past me was a bad judge of song, or that their old stuff was particularly bad. It’s just that these new efforts are iconic. “Wild Motion (Set It Free)” was liken to something from Talking Heads with catchy hooks streaking through its system, definitely one to be remember for some time to come. The latest release, “Love Like Mine”, came out late this week and it’s another ode to the eighties with a modern day twist, spruiking itself with confidence and a free love vibe. I could try and describe the actual music and what’s involved, but I feel like the best way to sum up the track would to say that if it were a stereotype of a person, it would be a California girl in a neon yellow one-piece swimsuit rollerskating down Venice Beach with a boombox cassette player blasting over her shoulder. Listen below, you’ll see what I mean.

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