Friday, October 07, 2011

From Here To Anywhere - Album Review

This is a revised version of a review I wrote for Channel V, which might explain why it's a bit more... restrained than usual. Enjoy!

Sneaky Sound System's third album picks up where their underrated 2008 sophomore effort "2" left off - with a dreamy mix of '80s synths and cutting-edge electronica. Only this time around, the Australian duo is less concerned with crafting radio-ready pop hits (although there is no shortage of singleworthy material) and more intent on putting their own unique spin on an ambitious array of dance music sub-genres.

Album opener "Friends" rides a thumping bassline all the way to a gigantic chorus that heralds the return of two of the nation's best songsmiths. The track is seeped in lashings of late '90s house-beats, which should prove irresistible to clubbers and pop fans alike. That gem is followed by their current radio hit "Big" and the album's misguided lead single "We Love". The latter is the easily the weakest moment on "From Here To Anywhere" and, unfortunately, gives a false impression of what the third-coming of Sneaky Sound System is all about.

Happily, that generic club-banger makes way for the shimmery "Really Want To See You Again" and all is forgiven. Miss Connie really shows her vocal chops on this effortlessly pretty tune and continues to mine the heartbreak on the Human League-inspired "Remember". Albeit this time against a towering wall of synths. After a couple of sonic detours, the duo return to more commercial ground on "The Colours" and "I Need You So". Both are expertly crafted floorfillers and will, no doubt, find their way to a nightclub near year you in the not too distant future.

Perhaps more interesting is the ambitious "1984", which sounds like a bizarre cross between Pet Shop Boys and Enigma. The quirky lyrics and experimental production flourishes mark this as one of the band's most accomplished tunes. "I'm Not Leaving", on the other hand, is the record's pure pop moment. An irresistibly catchy blend of '80s Donna Summer and early noughties Kylie Minogue, this summery tune is destined to be a future single.

The album closes with "Lovetown", a sexy Balearic anthem that shows how far Miss Connie and Black Angus have come in the past three years. "From Here To Anywhere" is a perfectly judged comeback from one of the country's most consistently brilliant pop acts.


Edit: My only criticism of this fantastic album is the lack of killer singles. It suffers a bit from Aphrodite-itis. there are lots of very good songs but only two that really scream out to be played on the radio ("Big" and "I'm Not Leaving"). I like that the band is exploring new sounds but it would be sad to see them descend into the cool-electronica-that-nobody-buys ghetto currently occupied by Miami Horror and Cut Copy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great album. Their best yet.