Album Review: Chairlift ‘Something’
I am a firm believer that you can tell everything you need to know about a person by what music they listen to. When I meet someone new, I’m not going through your medicine cabinet; I want to see your record collection. I want to see what you listen to when you’re happy, sad, celebrating, and relaxing. I want to hear what you play when you leave work and what song you want to hear on a Saturday night out. A mix tape is not just a collection of songs, it’s really a look into who you are as a person at that moment and time in life. And if you tell me you aren’t that into music, well, we probably won’t have much to talk about.
Chairlift is the type of band I want someone else to know I’m into. Artsy electro pop with a gorgeous female vocal – that’s my style. Something is the first release by Chairlift since 2008’s Does You Inspire You featuring hit “Bruises” which most of America will remember hearing in an Apple commercial. A trio on their first full length, Chairlift is now solely the duo of Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly as original founding member Aaron Pfenning left the group following the end of his relationship with Caroline. And while Caroline’s voice still stands out as piercingly beautiful as on the first record, there is a more polished sound beneath her this time around.
No longer having Aaron’s vocal involved, Caroline’s voice takes on a much larger role in Something. While Aaron’s voice allowed for some back and forth between the two, it also made Chairlift’s sound lack a true identity. “Sidewalk Safari”, the album’s first track, features a wickedly good beat with Caroline assuming the role of a maniacal bloodthirsty woman. With the range in her voice acting like a weapon she leads you on her rampage singing, “I’m going to hunt you down; I’m going to run you down.”
The maturity of the subject matter the band explored from the first LP is evident with Caroline’s willingness to dive into her failed relationship with Aaron on tracks “Wrong Opinion”, “I Belong in Your Arms”, and “Take It Out on Me” where she emotionally sings, “Forget forgiveness, forget all the rules. Just please don’t do it here.” “Amanaemonesia” is a faster, more upbeat electro-driven track, armed with a slick little bass beat and a catchy chorus that is ultimately one of the more fun listens on the album. Admittedly, not all is great as I feel the album falls off a bit towards the last three songs with “Turning” being more ambient sound filler than anything else.
In all, it’s a fantastic album that shows the evolution of two extremely talented individuals. While the wait for this sophomore LP was certainly lengthy, its quality of sound and improvement from the previous album makes it well worth it. Something will be available January 24th, so make sure to get out to your local record store this week to get your copy.
Written by Greg Dahman