Chairlift – Moth Review

We’ve been following the progress of Chairlift’s third studio album Moth very closely since the attention grabbing release of ‘Ch-Ching’ late last year. Since then, the Brooklyn-based duo of Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly have continued with the bold and bright singles. The duo are a leaner, sharper outfit in many ways and with their developments in mind, they look set to enter the realm of Pop sophistication and creativity.

‘Ch-Ching’ marked their change of direction in the four years since their last work and sees the duo try their hand Hip-Hop themed electronica with those moulded harmonies from Polachek that have since been popularized by HAIM. It’s a song that swings from it’s Hip-Hop inspired verses to the Pop melodies of the chorus and a fade out into a hazy electronic bridge. A song that remarkably pulls off the mixture of styles and genres with ease and sheds light an a wider talent that Chairlift might possess if they keep this up. With ‘Romeo’ we have competing layers and sounds battling for supremacy around a drum sample and Caroline’s soaring vocals. The song’s energy and rapidity around a streamline song structure make the track sound as if it is in a constant chorus and the switching from industrial soundscapes, to dance, sweeping electronica and rhythmic acoustics keep you on your toes throughout. ‘Moth to the Flame’ and continues on the well rounded pop journey the duo have took with this record. The more dance orientated track on show here features morphing beats and glimmering electronica. On top of this are the repetitive lyrics that are swept over with ease by Caroline’s improved vocals which hold their notes across the chorus. This song could be played in most clubs unedited, but despite that it still retains the light-hearted and welcoming nature of most Chairlift songs.

The duo have shown their vulnerability with ‘Crying in Public’. The first lines from Caroline talk of throwing away the defences and that’s exactly what this song does in terms of it’s delicately formed emotion. The vocals are perfectly matched to the track and she demonstrates the versatility of her wonderful ability. The arrangement compliments it without being stale, there are light synth chords, an easy beat and rich bass line. The song ever so slightly reaches a higher peak with richer synths and the odd guitar riff too. It is a beautiful song to balance against the bold and exciting Pop. ‘Unfinished Business’ provides us with a similar intimate track, but in a different environment of gently nudging beats and the soft sweeps of piano chords. This leaves Caroline’s bracing vocals to fill the space and they do in an eloquent and stylish fashion. ‘Show You Off’ delivers yet another varying piece of pop music with chunky bass-lines and bursts of electronica and falsettos to drive into the funk evocating chorus. Tracks like ‘Look Up’ offer up the echoed spheres and warping riffs and synth chords that aren’t too far away from a Peter Gabriel track whilst ‘No Such Thing as Illusion’ is more evocative of his more experimental work. The album tracks certainly match the singles of a body of work that draws to mind Peter Gabriel, Brandon Flowers, HAIM, Aluna-George and many more. It has to be the quintessential Pop album of 2016.

Chairlift – Moth = 8/10



Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

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