By Christopher Nosnibor
The all-female electro trio’s seventh album is an intriguing, and layered work, and if so much synth pop is chargeable for favouring style over substance, that accusation certainly can’t be levelled at Carolyn Berk, Kerby Ferris and Emily Kingan.
Some robust percussion paves the way for a woozy, serpentine bassline that twists its way around the edgy beats by way of an opening. And then Carolyn Berk’s vocals enter the fray: dainty, yet edgy, a crisp alt-pop tone with a distinctly post-punk production that contrasts with her almost folky inflections. ‘The image gets all twisted,’ she laments, breathily. But this is no depthless pop coquetry: Lovers conjure fractal images through eddying synths and crafted choruses, contrasting dark edges with accessibility.
‘Modern Art Museum of the Modern Kiss Goodbye’ may be cumbersomely titled, but is a beautifully sleek example of electro pop, not of the cliché 80s revivalist or disco persuasion, but of the magnificently shimmering variety that glides its supples skin over a mesmerising mid-tempo groove.
‘Oh Yeah’ mightn’t have overt lyrical depth, but slaps some rock attitude against an electro vibe and a sturdy beat, not least of all in the drum-driven mid-section. Besides, it seethes and simmers subtly and with restraint. ‘Wander through the Time of Hearts’ floats effortlessly and cloud-like through the album’s mid-section. It’s not groundbreaking, or even heartbreaking, but is it effortlessly crafted, a sliver of bubbling, cloud-light pop, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. ’Wild Horses’ shares considerable common ground with Zola Jesus, a drank stark sliver of elecro-pop.
To conjure tunes that drift by the listener so softly is no easy task, and the fact Lovers sound so at ease is remarkable. If Lovers’ sound can be easily slotted into the broad category of 80’s synth revivalism, it’s equally an album that’s noteworthy in its own right: the quality of the songwriting renders it timeless.
It’s certainly not anything we haven’t heard before, but that doesn’t matter, because it is very, very good.
A Friend in the World is released by Badman Recording Co.