Step Into Formation
Twin brothers Matt and Will Ritson are bringing a new edge to pop music with their debut album Look at the Powerful People. The duo perform as a five-piece, adding Jonny Tams, Sasha Lewis and Kai Akinde-Hummel to the Formation lineup. The group supported alternative acts Foals, Jagwar Ma and dance trio Years & Years after the release of their 2015 EP Young Ones, which stepped into both genres’ realms. The pair have claimed their previous releases didn’t completely nail the sound they were going for, adding that Look at the Powerful People aimed to surprise.
Often linked with LCD Soundsystem, Formation hit the influence head on with tracks “Buy And Sell,” “A Friend” and “Ring.” The duo strike a punk chord, yelling through distorted vocals about disapproving of consumerism on “Buy And Sell.” Swapping punk for dance-pop on “A Friend,” the group indulge Two Door Cinema Club’s “You’re Not Stubborn,” choosing similar melodies and a cowbell-heavy intro of which Will Ferrell would approve. Formation pay tribute to David Bowie by taking inspiration from “Fame” to produce “Ring.” Instrumentally, the song has a likeness to the LCD Soundsystem’s piano chords in “All My Friends,” but the implied homage is found within the lyrics: “better to be ducking out, before they make you a mess / shut into a hole and spat out again…you told me it’s better, better than being deaf / and I tell you it’s worse, it’s worse than being dead,” suggesting fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
The disco-infused single “Pleasure” is a love song with the closing simmering into Neon Indian’s genre of chillwave.“Powerful People” is a psychedelic rock number intermixed with an electronic sound similar to Yeasayer or MGMT. “For me, it’s a power that relates to the security that I found when I was young and hanging out with my outsider friends,” Will Ritson says of the catchy title track. The brothers interweave punk undertones with an electro pop groove that succeeds on both accounts. Making a name for themselves in pop, these twins might have to let their guard down because they’re not outsiders anymore — they’re powerful people.