Review Summary: Five parts pretty, two parts soothing, three parts cyborg.
When I initially started to listen to this album, I am afraid to admit I was expecting something completely different. I mean, look at it! The artwork screams that it’s straight out of a body horror flick, which is a total contradiction to the dreamy indie pop that stretches for the thirty-five minute runtime of the record. The title of the album also doesn’t help, as it implies an album that is more industrial leaning, which this is definitely not. No, this is just straight, relaxed, pretty indie pop; nothing more and nothing less.
Follow the Cyborg
vibes with the best of them. It is a case study in writing simple and fun tunes that are appealing. While all of the "normal" indie pop tropes are present, they are put together in a way that doesn’t sound pretentious or annoying. The musically sparse arrangements leave room for Margaret Sohn’s airy voice to fill the voids, and her performance is captivating in a charmingly carefree way. The beats provided do their best to keep things interesting without garnering too much attention to themselves. By way of example, the bass/something that sounds like a guitar line in "Like You" is deceptively funky, while the syncopated drum beats and distorted synth and guitar lines in "Your Eyes Are Mine" provide an interesting counterpoint to the usually silky smooth textures of the album. The synths and strings in “Nothing’s Wrong” are just plain pleasant to the ear, all while Sohn’s voice gracefully glides above it all.
The hallmark of the album is its simplicity. It’s not trying too hard; it’s not going out of its way to be particularly “indie” or to be “pop.” Each song floats along at an even pace, with the album gently rolling forward like a slow-moving wave. There aren’t any huge crescendos or jaw-dropping singles, and instead a very level-headed and consistent approach is used to pretty good effect.
Reversely though, having now listened to Follow the Cyborg
, I will say that the title is slightly ironic inasmuch as the fact that for all its charm and pretty moments, there isn't much depth in the glass eyes of the cyborg. The pretty and soothing melodies and sounds are almost computer-engineered to be superficially enjoyable. The simplicity which defines the album also becomes a bit of a drawback after a while, especially as there aren’t any tracks that particularly stand out from each other. You can only look at some nice view or object for so long before your attention is drawn elsewhere, and I repeatedly found my attention wandering for lack of anything really occurring.
So in the end, while Follow the Cyborg
is a fun listen it's shallowness prevents any lasting impression. It’s a bit like walking into a barren house that’s decorated by an array of Swarovski crystals. No matter how beautifully those crystals may glitter (and they are pretty), the house is ultimately still empty.