Young Ejecta – The Planet
Sometime around 2009 the synthesizer became arguably the most important instrument in independent music. Sure, synths have been big in hip hop and electronic music since time out of mind, but the rock and roll underground continued its guitar obsession long after most other genres had melded it back into an overall symphony of sounds. Then chillwave came along, bringing with it any number of artists who felt more comfortable with samplers and synths than they did with the traditional guitar/bass/drum setup. Washed Out, Neon Indian, CHVCHES, Chairlift, et al. brought the experimental ideas of synth-rock out of the 1980s and into the modern age, having washed off most of the cheese first.
Young Ejecta is actually the project of one of the members of Neon Indian – Leanne Macomber – and Joel Ford, who used to spend time in a duo with Daniel “Oneohtrix Point Never” Lopatin. So, suffice to say that it arrives with an impressive pedigree. Sadly, said pedigree doesn’t really translate out to impressive music. The Planet, a “mini-album” that stretches out to nearly half an hour, doesn’t present anything new, vital, or exciting. It’s quite honestly as close to generic Teens (what the fuck are we calling this decade, anyway?) synth rock as you can get. It’s all very *nice*, and that’s its major stumbling block. It’s pretty, the production is clean and gets you to nod your head in the appropriate places, it’s perfectly acceptable background music for doing whatever you do during the day, and that’s it. Nothing more. It’s boring. Neon Indian had some experimental quirks, but The Planet plays it safe. Chairlift and CHVCHES bust out maximalist melodic hooks, but there’s nothing of the sort on *The Planet*; in fact, there’s very little that’s memorable here at all, from a melodic standpoint. It’s the synth-rock equivalent of a Theory of a Deadman album: staid, by-the-numbers post-chillwave that doesn’t do much beyond try to catch the ear of people who’ve heard it all before and don’t want anything else.