On Data Romance’s first full-length album, there is something so devilishly sexy to their slow-burning production that it’s as if the record were engineered by a sleek sports car company. The eponymous “Others” blends longing lyrics with snaps and synth-like tires gripping desperately to a rain-coated road. Singer Amy Kirkpatrick provides all the traction needed for the song, vaulting it from background groove to a truly haunting track. The duo is known for their keen eyes and ears on music: Kirkpatrick is a lighting technician and bandmate Ajay Bhattacharyya studied sound design for film. That combined knowledge gives Data Romance an edge over other up and coming bands that are unfamiliar with stage production.
But the listenings of an album only can capture so much of that full aesthetic. This is where that same background hinders the duo. “Only A Few” somehow falls flat despite the haunting soundscape propelling it forward. Tribal drumming interspersed with vocal breaks starts off as engaging but ultimately ends in monotony with an outro that’s worn out its welcome. “Paper Thin,” one of the more surprising tracks on Other, turns Data Romance from Telepopmusik electronics to an organic earnestness reminiscent of Mates of State. Kirkpatrick’s voice shines bright as she croons the chorus. Synth beats recall Phantogram in their minimalism, a consistent theme of Other. “Finish Round” gives Kirkpatrick another vocal outlet and along with “Waiting Pace,”which closes the album out like a faint whisper of what’s to come. Let’s hope their next offering allows Kirkpatrick’s vocals to fully emerge throughout the record.