Review Summary: A diamond.
Love, though being one of life’s more popular concepts (or clichés if you will), is also one of the hardest to grasp. There is no real definition that covers all of the bases. It’s an emotion, a virtue and a survival instinct. Whether it be familial or interpersonal, it’s usually always around us in a way. There’s platonic love that defines a friendship or attachment that defines an extended relationship and then there’s just simply desire. Desire, though not a key component, is usually an initial component in all relationships platonic, familial or interpersonal. Though verily one sided, Desire (band) truly knows how desire (emotion) works. They clearly illustrate through the duration of “II”, their 2009 album, how desire works in interpersonal settings. Even though it’s quite cliché in modern society, interpersonal relationships have an unmistakably alluring sound, and that sound is Desire.
The members of Desire know exactly how the said emotion sounds. It sounds glossy, lush, and ephemeral. The ambient textures behind it tend to pull instead of push; luring the listener in closer, giving a more intimate listening experience. Their neon light designer drug representation of desire reminds one of the 80’s, specifically LA nightlife. Though I haven’t personally been alive that long, we’ve all seen a movie depicting nightlife in the 80’s haven’t we? It’s absolutely grand, am I right? Yeah. Everything about this LP is grandiose, even in the smaller sounding tracks. It’s just pure ecstasy; a girl wearing lipstick, obnoxiously high heels and a glittery cocktail dress fit with sequins. The hazy time stoppage felt when that girl makes eye contact with you on the dance floor is what is contained in this LP; pure desire.
One of the strong points of this album is how cheesy it is. The lyrics are simplistic and innocent drivel that if sung in the wrong way would sound absolutely abysmal to say the least, but with production that sounds like dissociative anesthesia mixed with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, you got some stellar music on your hands. Melodies soar through the ears, drums are denser than they would be on a Def Leppard album. Everything is virtually systematic in its execution; drum hits are placed delicately over top a dreamy gaze into the 80’s, the vocals have a tendency to be mono-tonal yet the reverb behind them make them a key component, and the ambiance wraps the listener in a blanket of warm, sensuous tones. This highlights a fine period of artistic integrity rather beautifully; the nostalgia is the best part.
Highlights of the album are ubiquitous in nature; practically no song on here is met with a listener’s disdain or enmity. It would be a crime not to listen to this album wholly and wholeheartedly because another way of listening wouldn’t do it justice. Picking out single songs is just a very difficult thing to do with something so cohesive and sound. “Under Your Spell” is the most popular of the track listing due to its feature in the 2011 film “Drive” (starring Ryan Gosling) and probably the highlight of the album. The listener is practically drowned in the sounds of obsession and desire, and it’s just so overwhelmingly beautiful. A middle section of spoken word (also featured in other tracks), though absolutely cheese-tacular, adds to the general wonderfulness of it. Never is there a moment of my day that goes without me hearing “forever-ever” after this. This blindingly bright single is only a drop in a sea of pure bliss.
Ultimately, Desire has crafted the perfect representation of their accompanying emotion (desire) which will find a spot in anyone’s heart. An ocean of positives which is hauntingly consistent only showing one true negative that is found with most albums (repetition) but never has an album been wholly tainted by a flaw as small as repetitiveness. I can’t bring myself to any other conclusion then this being a sliver away from classic status, excelling in everything but missing that one key component; like I said though, a SLIVER. This is a tremendous studio effort from this group of individuals who call themselves Desire, and rightfully so. Overblown romanticism isn’t usually my cup of tea but instead here it’s my cup of coffee, and I ***ing love coffee.