Chairlift
Something


3.5
great

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
January 22nd, 2012 | 26 replies | 4,539 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In which the 80s gets broken by a broken band.

In a time where it seems more and more indie folk are turning to synthesisers evocative of the turbulent 1980s to spruce up their sound, what do Chairlift do to follow up their indifferent 2008 debut? Well, kids, they do the same, pretty much. Shocking, isn’t it? Well, apparently not, especially for those who’ve had the Brooklynites jotted down as somewhat aimless, post-MGMT apes since they hit the scene 4 years ago.

But restraining such prejudice reveals Something to be something worthwhile, if not totally mind-blowing. Their scatterdash debut is replaced by a supremely more focused effort this time round, with a dark synth-pop slant flowing throughout all 11 tracks. It’s certainly more cohesive than previous detractors would like to believe, and has a few tricks to pull out of its velvet top hat - and trust me when I say there’ll be no bunny rabbits held in white silk gloves here.

Whether the inevitable tension brought about by the romantic spilt of creative partnership Aaron Pfenning and Caroline Polachek took a surreal artistic turn, or something altogether more contrived forced the direction of Chairlift into that of a violence tinged lead single is up for individual debate. Regardless, it provides Something a pillar on which to perch, and gives the lyrics a certain sense of value, at least in the curio-worthy sense of the term.

The brilliantly named ‘Sidewalk Safari’ hooks the listener in with an odd, whirled intrusion of gargled synth, perhaps distracting from Polachek’s casual exploration of turning the steering wheel streetwise and mowing down bystanders – her car bonnet acting as the metaphorical bullet from a safari hunters rifle muzzle, aimed squarely at some distant Zebra, or person (read: Patrick), in the case of ‘Sidewalk Safari’s demented vision. It’s as surreal as it is enjoyable.

‘I Belong In Your Arms’ and ‘Take It Out On Me’, musically at least, offer similarly excitable synth-thrills, with both tracks sounding like some kind of forgotten 80s movie ballad (and well delivered by Polachek, at that), and go some way in steering the listener away from the impression that the violence aesthetic of ‘Sidewalk Safari’ is to be exhausted, with their explorations of failed love - a subject one might expect given the band members peculiar situation.

By the time ‘Amanaemonesia’ rolls around, Something begins to take shape as a consistent listen, and with the song’s twisted rhythm and strangled vocals, the album takes a turn for the slightly more avant variety of indie pop, in itself indicative of a more ambitious and challenging direction the turbulent Chairlift have valiantly crawled towards despite the rather awkward situation the creative face of the band find themselves in.

Tension is often the be all, end all of a group, and here it seems like Chairlift have toes dipped into both pools. Something is a slightly off-kilter version of 80s synth revival and by the end of 40 minutes, feels both exhausted yet worthwhile. But given how long (or little) Chairlift appear likely to last, the latter seems most appropriate when all is said and done, and despite relationship issues, Patrick and Caroline have made a more interesting and pleasing record than anyone could’ve expected.



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user ratings (64)
Chart.
3.5
great
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stream: http://prettymuchamazing.com/?s=chairlift+something+stream

- Follow link, click top search result and under the album art image on the page that loads click 'Stream' and the stream will appear -

Adabelle
January 22nd 2012



4254 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Listening to the stream, pretty much agree with the review from the first couple of tracks..

Pos'd.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks bro.

I quite like this album but I definietly couldn't see this hitting any higher than 3.5.

Adabelle
January 22nd 2012



4254 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Finished the stream, a few standout tracks but fairly solid 3 material.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I thought the same but I listened through more and i found it very consistent. I like how the album gradualy gets more unconventional too.

bakkermaarten007
January 22nd 2012



3417 Comments


This band got known for a song of theirs used in an Apple ad.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

True. Thanks for that...?

bakkermaarten007
January 22nd 2012



3417 Comments


I would've mentioned it in your review I guess. It is what launched them.

Pos'd though.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ha, thanks dude. I didn't think it was neccessary because i'm discussing this album, not their whole career, but i take your point fella.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2012



6443 Comments


First sentence made sure that I wouldn't check this out :p

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha, this wont be for everyone, I could certainly tell that from the first spin.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2012



7326 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good review as ever Tom. This is doing very, very little for me, though.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers bro. This is quite abstract in a way - well i feel it is, i've listened through it a few times and its hard to nail down why it feels like a 3.5.

char504
January 23rd 2012



14 Comments


I absolutely love their sound!! all the new songs I've heard so far have been really interesting and as you said "surreal and enjoyable". Here's a live version of Sidewalk Safari that I really like http://youtu.be/77ob12zZLes

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2012



10329 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I thought it was Polachek and the ex-member (Aaron Pfenning) who were involved romantically and that's why he left

still need to hear this but i liked the single

Digging: Literature - Chorus

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Whoops. Got jumbbled there. Fixed it.

HBFS
January 25th 2012



1244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haven't heard all of this yet but sidewalk safari is incredible.

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ You should enjoy this album then. Repeated listens reveals plenty of odd synths and arty-ambiance.

HBFS
January 25th 2012



1244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet. that synth lead in the chorus is amazing with her voice

Drsmith4
February 4th 2012



1715 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

chasing the rabbit



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