Neither Modern nor New
Scientific Lifestyle has been billed as an innovative, â€šÃ„Ãºforward thinking,â€šÃ„Ã¹ pop-rock-meets-electronica collective. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s a pretty impressive list of modifiers for the new, female-fronted, Los Angeles-based band. Even the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s title, Modern Sounds for the New Era and its corresponding design and fonts suggest this futuristic feel. However, said descriptions are only words on a piece of paper and designs on cover art until proven by the music. Unfortunately for Scientific Lifestyle (known as SciLi for short) such praises are misplaced in regards to their debut album. Self-described as â€šÃ„Ãºrocktronica,â€šÃ„Ã¹ SciLiâ€šÃ„Ã´s sound is anything but.The six-member group headed by lead vocalist Nicole Porter and producers Zach Grace and Darius Holbert, fails to live up to its own sycophancy. This seemingly interesting ball of contradictions falls flat to a generic, pop-rock sound which is neither paradoxical nor pioneering. While one would expect something ranging from Stereolab to Ladytron, SciLi is closer to a better sounding, classier Lindsey Lohan. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s not so much that Modern Sounds is pop-princess-type stuff (or that Porter sounds like Lohan), but tracks such as â€šÃ„ÃºPaper Dollâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºWorld Upside Downâ€šÃ„Ã¹ are evocative of those occasional Hillary Duff/Avril Lavigne faux punk, power pop moments. And even though SciLi briefly flirts with hints of down tempo and trip-hop ala Portishead, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s not enough to redeem an album so unexciting. To be fair, however, Modern Sounds is not terrible. In fact, production is top-notch and Porter has a decent voice. The album is simply bland and uninspired.
Although Modern Sounds misses the target, SciLi does have potential. If they drop the pop-rock and focus on their genre-blending aim, then perhaps they can create something truly new and innovative.