It’s pretty normal these days for cheery indie bands to have cute synth-pop counterparts. Vampire Weekend has Discovery, Death Cab For Cutie has The Postal service and the recently featured in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial – The Morning Benders – has fully mutated in both name and style into POP ETC. Chris Chu of the newly renamed POP ETC proves he has more than enough buttery melodies to keep kids satisfied all summer with the self-titled POP ETC.
“Back To Your Heart,” the 2nd track on the album, opens with a familiar melody. One can hear Daft Punk’s “Digital Love,” mixed in with climbing synths and a hyper-pop chorus. In fact, it wouldn’t feel out of place featured in a Disney Original Movie. That’s not really bad thing.
Tracks like “Halfway To Heaven” and “R.Y.B” creep on the verge of being laid down by the likes of Passion Pit or Northern California’s Butterfly Bones. The trick is to have the perfect blend of Jackson 5 and Beach Boys – Motown meets chilled-down vocal melodies.
“Why’d You Do It Honey” is a slight throwback to 90s R&B, while doing a good job at maintaining the “cute” motif spanning this whole album. So far, the “cuteness” doesn’t really work in POP ETC’s favor, but mainly serves to keep the album light. No one really needs a bummed out record during these hot months.
Chu’s attempts at bringing his moving, almost intensely emotional melodies from the last release from The Morning Benders over to an electronic act doesn’t really translate well in this format. Synth-pop does require a sort of detachment in order to let listeners feel like it’s okay to dance without weeping about their Spring breakups. With that said, POP ETC. is still a solid summer album, packed with enough singles to keep you and your significant other irresponsibly dancing in your car on long, hot road trips.