Dreamy, whimsical and strange is the sound of The Naked and Famous, and they welcome you to their alternate world with their debut album,Passive Me, Aggressive You. The best way to describe Passive Me, Aggressive You is like the love child of Yeasayer and MGMT with their odd percussion and synth tones with a mix of psychedelic dream pop, enticing the listener into a mind spin of indie/pop delight. The Naked and Famous are actually not that famous, and unfortunately are not that naked either and hailing from New Zealand, Alisa Xayalith and Aaron Short are out to prove that they are at least, one of those things.
Passive Me, Aggressive You packs plenty of punches, especially with first single, ‘Punching In A Dream’. The first thing noticed is the instantly recognisable vocals of Alisa Xayalith, which sound like a young Cyndi Lauper as in a girls just wanna have fun take off. Xayaliths vocals stick out like a sore thumb, and take some time to get used to, though they fit the deep pounding electro drums and looped synth lines so perfectly, that you’ll think you are back in the 80’s having the best time of your life.
Lyrically, the writing across the album is pretty light but not lacking in makeup, and gets the intended message across quite substantially:
“We're only young and naive still
We require certain skills
The mood it changes like the wind
Hard to control when it begins
The bittersweet between my teeth
Trying to find the in-betweens
Fall back in love eventually
Yeah yeah yeah yeah”
‘Young Blood’ is the 2nd single, gaining a huge following in Australia, with its sing-a-long chorus, delayed synth chords, modernised 80’s like versus and Xayalith’s pulsating vocals, it’s enough to get anyone jumping. Though, this was a strange choice of second single by the band as the album contains so much variety, that it seems as though they were trying to sell themselves as a single genre type of band and not show off the eclectic sounds that they have created. This is shown in cuts such as the acoustic camp fire tune, ‘No Way’ which builds to a galactic and hectically sounded rock anthem. Then there is the guitar screeching ‘Jilted Lovers’ and the gorgeous indie/electro album ender, ‘Girls Like You’, filled with duel vocals from Xayalith and Short, closing the album in an epic fashion. The Naked and Famous have a sound that is enticing, dreaming, eclectic and pulsating. Their mix of indie, rock, electro and pop is done well, yet can come across as a bit samey and may not get a large replay factor from some of the lesser tracks. Still, The Naked and Famous have definitely stamped their name on the indie music scene of the moment, and produced a tantalizing offering in Passive Me, Aggressive You.
Solid review as always Dougie. Only one point I have to make to you & DavID... And I'll stand to be corrected if I'm confusing this band with someone else, but isn't one of the singles from this band an utter, unashamed rip-off of Passion Pit... To the point where everyone who hears it thinks it's a Passion Pit song?
Poor Michael, I wonder how often people thinks his voice is a female singing.
EDIT: This is them. How could you say these guys sound more like MGMT & Yeasayer than Passion Pit. Soooooo obvious.
I still like these guys btw, but they push the boundaries of copy-cat.
Heard one of the singles on the radio in the car 2 weeks ago. My better half asked "Are Passion Pit still releasing singles from that album?" I said this must be from a new album as it wasn't on 'Manners'. As soon as the song finished, the DJ (as if hearing our conversation) said something like "No folks, that was not Passion Pit, but a new band from NZ, yadda, yadda..."