The album starts well with ‘Counting Birds’ which plays a glorious synth orchestration over a simplified drum machine, then suddenly it takes off into borderline dubstep, but even then the song still keeps us hooked. This isn’t electronic music for the sake of being electronic, the song uses electronic music to create atmosphere that’s dark and gloomy as well as danceable.
The tone brightens a bit with ‘I’ll Fit’ which initially sounds like something Flight Of The Concords would make, but as the track elevates it starts feeling more and more like Prince channelled via MGMT. There’s not a huge deal that can be said for the track other than the fact it makes us want to move to it.
‘I Hold Loneliness’ however breaks that spell instantly by using the typical Atari sampling style that’s become typical of electric indie, the song also lacks a distinct hook unfortunately. It just sounds like generic happy indie in frankness.
‘Blood Will Roll’ however brings things back into gear with its brilliant gloom pop styling reminiscent of a modernised format of 80’s synth pop. There are hints of cult 80’s gods Felt in there as well as more current tastes like White Lies. This kind of sets the groove for much of the album, the slower, if you want more negative songs smoulder gloriously like the girl in the corner of the party smoking a cigarette and looking dead cool to match. But when Wave Machines try to push the tempo or tone to something more straight up happy, it just falls apart unfortunately.
‘Pollen’ however fits into neither category and is probably the essence of the album – the one personal standout track. Just a simple acoustic guitar and vocals for the main part. It’s a relaxing and comforting slice of melancholy that broods with brass and strings at just the right moments.
All in all an excellent splice of gloomy synth if you’re willing to dismiss the more generic upbeat tracks.
Reviewer: Martin McDonnel