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Moth

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Album Review

Chairlift's 2012 album Something was a shiny slice of modern pop that featured Caroline Polachek's dramatic vocals running wild through a slick backdrop of synth pop and icy R&B-influenced beats provided by Patrick Wimberly. After taking time to work on a follow-up, the duo delivers an album that amplifies the pop aspects of Something and blows it out into a sometimes brilliant listening experience. While Wimberly's skill at crafting really hooky arrangements and coaxing nice sounds out of an array of synths has grown, Polachek is still the undisputed star of the show, as her swooping, sweeping vocals dance across the mix like multi-tracked imps. She comes across like she's having all kinds of fun, which transmits a level of joy to the listener that's hard to ignore. Even if said listener is inundated with shiny, R&B-based pop, as is anyone who has access to a radio or the Internet in 2016, there's something about the way Chairlift operate that helps them to stand out just enough to truly shine. There are definitely quite a few great songs, like the pulsing "Romeo," which comes with a rousing, montage-friendly chorus, and the insistently catchy, radio-ready "Moth to the Flame," which would have sounded good sung by just about anyone. Polachek's vocal gymnastics give them the little boost they need to become something special. Her playfulness and light touch can even turn the less successful songs, like the pleasantly corny "Ch-Ching," into something worth adding to a playlist. They don't spend much time on ballads; only the opening "Look Up" and the album's penultimate track, "Unfinished Business," bring the tempo and mood down. Polachek doesn't tone her vocals down much, squeaking and squealing on the latter like a baby Björk. It's a little jarring, but not too much. The album-ending "No Such Thing as Illusion," which rolls and tumbles magically like a weird mix of Arthur Russell and Michael Jackson, more than makes up for the slight misstep that precedes it. The rest of Moth works really well too, hitting a sweet spot between modern pop simplicity and mildly arty weirdness that only a few of the many practitioners of this sound can consistently hit.

Customer Reviews

Ooh

It's quite different from their other stuff. But I love it

Loved it on the first listen

I'm usually pretty picky and take some time to settle into an album but wow. This is an incredible exception. Pure perfections in its creative catchy oddness ;)

Moth by Chairlift

Chairlift has always been one of my favorite bands, and Moth exemplifies why to a T. The duo has always been great at making sophisticated music, while excelling at creating arty pop tunes, and they really expand on that in Moth. You can't help but tap your feet to the shimmery disco "Moth to the Flame", or the fast paced running of "Romeo". The duo also experiments with urban, trap, and funk styles in songs like "Ch-Ching", "Polymorphing", and "Show U Off". If you're looking for something more like... "Something" (their previous album), than look no further than "Crying in Public", which brings the hopeless romantic of "I Belong in Your Arms" but as melancholy reflection. Similarly "Ottawa to Osaka" is as weird as it is dreamy, while "No Such Thing as Illusion" closes on a "Something"-esque chillwave note... While still retaining the vibe of previous tracks. This album is easily their most accessible, and by far their most fun.

Biography

Formed: 2006 in Boulder, CO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York (by way of Boulder, Colorado, where they originally came together in 2006), the avant-pop outfit Chairlift formed for the unusual purpose of crafting music for haunted houses. After finding that their work transcended its original purpose, bandmates Aaron Pfenning, Caroline Polachek, and Patrick Wimberly pulled up stakes and headed east, eventually settling in that most musical of locales -- not to mention one always looking for new and unique ideas -- New York City....
Full Bio
Moth, Chairlift
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