Chairlift | Something

Columbia (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  January 17, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

chairlift1

"You lost your focus, but I got a plan for it," sings Caroline Polachek in a crystal-clear chirp on "Amanaemonesia," hovering over a dark, winding bassline and iceberg synths. Those are the first words sung on Something, Brooklyn duo Chairlift's sophomore album, and Polachek slings them like a manifesto. Sure, in a way, it's Chairlift who have lost focus: with its cavernous psychedelic expanses and spacey lyrical assaults, Something makes the charming electro-pop of their first album (and its iPod-promoting singalong, "Bruises") sound like streamlined commercial grab-ass by comparison. But Polachek and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Wimberly, yes, "got a plan." Somehow they manage to combine their weirdest musical impulses with hooks that stick in your brain. Critics throw around the "art-pop" tag all the time, but marrying those two worlds is tricky business: "Sidewalk Safari" has a faint whiff of prog (surging synth lines, a tense bed of programmed rhythms, spoken-word sections, an electro outro ripped straight from a B-ninja flick), but, sweet Jesus, that chorus! Polachek plays the part of an asphalt-burning hired assassin — possessed, euphoric, her dexterous alto soaring through clouds of warm studio reverb as she promises to hunt down an anonymous bad guy, or perhaps a former lover ("If you see me on the street, you better run" has a nice gangsta-rap ring to it). To pull off tracks this crammed with ideas, you need expert producers, and it helps if they're British. Veteran rock legend Alan Moulder and eclectic electro-guy Dan Carey make sure Something sounds as huge as its aspirations, bringing an impeccably massive sheen to every note: mind-blowing synth-ballad "Take It Out on Me" sounds like the epic slow-dance finale to a 1986 high school prom, but recorded in the year 2050.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, CD reviews, chairlift,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY RYAN REED
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WAVVES | AFRAID OF HEIGHTS  |  March 18, 2013
    "I Can't Dream," the closer on Wavves' fourth studio album, opens in a drunken lo-fi stupor — Nathan Williams warbling bratty, tone-deaf nonsense over hissy acoustic power chords.
  •   THE VIRGINS | STRIKE GENTLY  |  March 06, 2013
    After a half-decade of semi-obscurity, frontman Donald Cumming is redefining his band as the hipster sultans of swing.
  •   ATOMS FOR PEACE | AMOK  |  February 26, 2013
    Kid A , Radiohead's confounding electro-rock masterpiece, is officially hitting puberty.
  •   ATLAS GENIUS | WHEN IT WAS NOW  |  February 20, 2013
    Atlas Genius are schooled students of modern pop architecture, seamlessly bouncing from Coldplay-styled acoustic rock to fizzy Phoenix funkiness to deadpanned Strokes-ian guitar chug. But When It Was Now is more like an alt-pop NOW compilation than a joyous synthesis.
  •   FOALS | HOLY FIRE  |  February 11, 2013
    Even at their most expansive, Foals are digging into more primal territory.

 See all articles by: RYAN REED