Album Reviews: Boygenius, Crosses, Troye Sivan
Boygenius – The Rest
(Mechanicsville, VA/Pasadena, CA/Germantown, TN)
Almost cheeky in its title, Boygenius would have you think their new EP is leftovers rather than a decadent dessert to their recent LP. While seemingly a small companion to their latest album, this EP feels like a 10-song record’s worth of ideas refined into knockout after knockout. There’s an emotional tidal wave that builds on “Black Hole” as the song’s quiet push is nursing the most loud and chaotic rumble under the surface, while all the shimmering instrumental runs show beautiful cracks in this just-holding control off the madness. There’s an immediate charm to the melodies and small story of “Afraid of Heights,” with the back and forth between Lucy Dacus and the group creating a tangible sense of shared experiences between the singers. After its mesmerizing hums open up “Voyager,” Phoebe Bridgers takes us through a devastating journey of change and the damage it can leave on us. “Powers” rounds out the record on what feels like a beat-less take on a power ballad, with the horns and synths building this kind of heavenly force behind the group as they come in and out of harmony, and the trumpets presenting a solitary farewell on the record.
SLIP~ons – Heavy Machinery
(Vancouver, British Columbia)
With an unbridled post-punk fire, SLIP~ons come out stomping on their latest EP. “Heavy Machinery” sets of the spark, and the explosions for that matter, right away, with a hefty and crackling rush of a track that finds them racing downhill with a ferocious but smile-inducing speed. The tension is soaring as “Nothing Is Good Enough” sets off, with every section giving the drums more and more room to pile onto their massive kick, and create an enveloping experience as they head into every chorus. The classic riff tones to the layered guitar work on “Mosquito” grabs you and sends you into the stratosphere right away, as the ballistic momentum of this track seeps into every new guitar line and drum fill. Despite its many slower and more spaced-out moments, “Undivided” shows the band at their most mature, able to weave a deeper and more varied song into one cohesive narrative that rises and falls like a phoenix.
Crosses ††† – Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete.
(Los Angeles, CA)
Violent in its sound and approach to music, Crosses create music that have an intimidating sound amidst its pop. Following the walloping abrasiveness that opens “Pleasure,” the song takes on an exotic edge in its choruses, and lets that infect the rest of the track, creating a slinking melody under that blown out bass that drives it higher. There’s a more ambitious stretch on “Invisible Hand,” as the sense of space in the production lets every warbling vocal feel ethereal, and every low-end blare feel like an all out attack on the senses, allowing the addictive choruses to simply wash over you in their wake. The vocals start competing with the rage of the production on “Big Youth,” while the track also takes refreshing time to breathe and create soothing moments. With some of the most tactile production on the entire record, you can almost feel the notes of “Ghost Ride” in the air, and see the textures they bring to life in its earthquake-inducing sound.
Perpacity – Discordia
There’s a chill in the air as you listen to the new album by Perpacity, shining a light through its foreboding space. “Tear These Walls Down” rings with a synthetic terror, introducing you to a desolate and hostile world in the process. “Parasite” brings an even more slow-burning approach to this feeling, ringing out like a voice taking control of your life whether malevolent or simply acting of its own accord. There’s a more direct pop in the synth lines of “Dead Letter,” as Perpacity take you through an immense sonic space echoing with pain and desperate anguish. Taking a more narrative approach off the bat, the theatrics of “Ragnarök” between the bells, background voice stings and more oozing keyboards create a unique beast within the record.
Troye Sivan – Something to Give Each Other
(Johannesburg, South Africa)
Though not exactly reinventing the wheel, Troye Sivan always knows exactly how to crank out a couple absolute bangers to keep us coming back. With a lot of classic pop under the hood here, Sivan assures great shows, but mixed results in the overall song-to-song experience of their new record. There’s an instantly intoxicating feel to “Rush” that gets you singing on by its first chorus, as its simple but effective beat and wall of voices make that chorus an irresistible force. The suave delivery of “One of Your Girls” lets you really sink into Sivan’s story, so that you’re already hooked by the time he drips out the delicious percussion and small guitar details that really enrich this song into something bolder. With that addictive sample of Bag Raiders’ “Shooting Stars” kicking things off, “Got Me Started” adds some funk to its iconic riff, though loses some of the actual effective drive that its original song brought to the table with the same melody. Awash in its dense synths and electronics, “Honey” is a daydream, evoking all the miraculously and otherworldly euphoria Sivan’s love brings him.