DetailsGenre: Indie pop, Pop
Pros:Bubbly indie pop from "Moth to the Flame" and "Romeo" are Moth's golden highlights; urban-spiked adventures are also sweet additions
Cons:Trippy tracks sound like subpar interludes, fall between the cracks
Indie pop duo opens the gateway for explorative pop and trance-like relapses
Indie pop duo opens the gateway for explorative pop and trance-like medidation
Chairlift, a modest New York indiepop duo with very little to no radio action on the books, is turning up the heat on their explorative synth creations on their third LP. On Moth, their second LP with Columbia, vocalist/songwriter Caroline Polachek and key wiz/producer Patrick Wimberly tries to push past their underground limitations with strong, ear-grabbing, pop-drizzled cuts like the Devo-like, “Whip It”-seasoned “Romeo” and the disco-lite “Moth to the Flame.” Polachek’s vocals run across these tracks like a summery Florence Welch jumping with Bjork altitude. And those two tracks, easily the album’s biggest triumphs, are produced with the magic wand of ‘80’s earcandy and futuristic keyboard strings. “Crying in Public,” a sensual midtempo ballad that feels like neo-Sade, also sounds appetizing enough to be considered sexy art pop.
Still, Moth feels a bit like a hit-and-miss record. When they go for harder, urban-edged grooves on the “Royals”-sounding “Ch-Ching” and “Show U Off,” they show off their love for expeditions dipped in ballsy diversity. It’s not their strongest suit, but it’s a good leap forward. It’s the trippy, spaced-out slow workouts that lack the most character. Even with the jazzy sax atop Polachek’s crooning on “Polymorphing,” Chairlift seems to be coasting. The opening track “Look Up,” the minimalist slump on the six-minute long “No Such Thing as Illusion” and the sleepy “Unfinished Business” also seem out of place in the song rotation. They aren’t disasters to the ear, but with smarter trimming and clever pop bait they could’ve easily found a way to soar. But in the indiepop world, going for mainstream acceptance is a sellout, and it is probably Chairlift’s intentions to plant a little something on this round that will please almost anybody. A little cotton candy pop here, a little street there, and a little far-out escapes for the uncanny crowd. Unfortunately, Moth would’ve been totally memorable if it had more pop goodies to offer and focused on higher ground, even if it meant being briefly called a sellout.