Chairlift – Moth
Released January 22nd, 2016 on Columbia Records
Something, Chairlift’s second album, was a pretty solid record and a lot of fun. On the strength of singles like “Sidewalk Safari”, “I Belong In Your Arms”, and the purely Eighties-biting “Amanaemonesia”, it got by on charisma and peppy synth work. That was four years ago. Since then, the world has become somehow even more inundated with bold, peppy synth pop. CHVRCHES happened, and then happened again. Chillwave pillars like Washed Out and Neon Indian became akin to cliches. So when Moth was released today, it came out into a sea of similar albums by similar bands.
To it’s credit, the front half is loaded with good songs, from the agitated funk of “Polymorphing” to the twin-barrel singles “Romeo” and “Ch-Ching”. Then “Crying In Public” happens and you’re left feeling uncomfortable and vaguely embarrassed, which I suppose brings out the idea behind the song but also makes you wonder why this lazily histrionic ballad wasn’t left in the 1987-marked bin it was discovered in. The back half is yawning mediocrity except for “Show U Off”, which rediscovers the fun of the first four songs. Then it ends on “No Such Thing As Illusion” and I’m trying and failing to come up with a reason to feel any sort of way about it; ambient balladry only works if there’s something to hang onto, and the walls of that song are smooth and blank.
Moth is one of those very common albums in popular music: you’ll find yourself singing along to the singles on the radio even while the album itself gathers dust.