’80s Pop Revival Done Right
When putting out a record, bands have usually decided on one sound that will dominate the album. In the case of Chairlift’s latest offering Somewhere, that couldn’t be further from the case. Each song sounds unique due in large part to the spirit of experimentalism that permeates all of the songs.
Like their debut album, Chairlift’s more upbeat songs have a markedly ’80s pop aesthetic. What prevents Chairlift from falling into ’80s cheesiness are the Depeche Moding discordant sounds that work well within their electronic pop framework. Examples of this include “Met Before,” “Sidewalk Safari,” and “Wrong Opinion.”
Patrick Wimberley plays multiple instruments with skill on the album and achieves a good balance between their electronic, pop, atmospheric, and experimental layers within the music. No one style is overly represented on the album. Singer Caroline Polachek’s voice is sometimes breathy and ethereal. reminiscent of Little Dragon. Other times, songs recall head bopping Cyndi Lauper, with others channeling a Karen O yowl. Vocally, “Guilty as Charged” is the standout on the album. Her voice is smooth and beautiful while juxtaposed with haunting lyrics. “Ghost Tonight” and “Cool as Fire” are other notable vocal achievements that showcase her range. Finally, “Turning” and “Wrong Opinion” close out the album with an atmospheric edge complete with experimental melodies.
Somewhere, could be a soundtrack for a movie, it could be the basis for a dance party in your living room, or it could even be your personal anthem. What makes this album such a standout is the musical variety offered.