The Naked and Famous | Passive Me, Aggressive You

Republic (2011)
By MICHAEL MAROTTA  |  April 27, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Let's get this out of the way: the Naked and Famous's current radio hit, "Young Blood," which first circulated last year via on-point Brooklyn label Neon Gold, sounds a whole fuckin' lot like Passion Pit. It's almost unforgivable, and Boston being the Pit's native turf, we have to approach these charttopping New Zealand kids as if they'd stolen Michael Angelakos's milk money. But once the batty lashes are issued behind the disco woodshed, the whizzing synth loops, crunched-out beats, and even that trademark falsetto squeal make "Young Blood" one beast of a track, among a handful of standouts on this debut. Yes, the Naked and the Famous borrow from the recent wave of Day-Glo electro-pop bands, but they also carve enough catchiness and intrigue to make you forgive the blatant composite sketch of electronic indie circa 2k11. Stained with MGMT's DNA, "Punching in a Dream" is a thunderous, assault-the-sky dreampop jam that could be the band's career definer. Album closer "Girls Like You" allows composers Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith to layer girl/boy vocals (Powers warns, "Don't you know people write songs/About girls like you"; Xayalith counters with "Everything you say is higher/All the things that make you lighter") over a climax of buzzing guitars, organ synths, and rubber-ball beats. It's infectious, and though the album is heavy in inspirational debt, Passive's highs are tantalizing enough to lure you to come for a bright-eyed joyride.

THE NAKED AND FAMOUSFREELANCE WHALES + FOALS |  Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | May 2 @ 7 pm | all ages | $16.50 | 617.562.8800

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