A punkier shade of pop

The Static Age – In the city of wandering lights

Stream – ‘Metropolis’


This album is neither punk nor pop, apologies for the misleading title, although there are moments when the inflexion of the voice or the general mood of the song goes into punk, but no, it stays in the shadows, in the dark hues of music similar to something out of the 80s, not only by genre, but also by the mood (achieved by the production/mixing).

It does seem like a very efficient throwback to the heyday of postpunk bands, maybe slightly more mellow. In the city of wandering lights  could very well be an album from an era where the debate was VHS vs Betamax and all your games where trapped inside cartridges (or tapes in some unfortunate cases).

‘Wires’ is a slow burning, almost smouldering track, don’t let the rockier pace fool you, it’s sort of slow. Relishing on this slow (but not glacial-slow) pace is ‘Come swimming’, a joyful little track with a refrain of “don’t let me go”.

More on that 80’s throwback? Well, ‘Patience’ is synth heavy and ‘I heard about you’ is superbubbly pop. The one song that does stand out from the get go is ‘Metropolis’*. It starts with a hooky bass (which does hog the limelight beautifully during the whole song). It’s a great song, certainly one of the biggest highlights of the album.

Another corker follows. The refrain of “hey, what a wonderful world!” from ‘Wandering Lights’ seems genuinely full of longing, but you can detect a bit of sarcasm on it. Still, the song goes slowly drifting towards the horizon, with an arpeggio that is as dreamy as it is sweet, maybe it’s that reverberated chorus that makes it so good?

‘Returning’ goes back into Rock mode, forfeiting all dreamy atmospheres for rock. There’s a cool instrumental interlude near the end that’s pretty nifty, specially on bass. ‘Down to your canyons’ is the moody ending to the whole endeavour. It’s mostly just guitar (again, set on dreamy mode) and the lead singer’s voice, who steps away from the limelight for the solo to take the front. A lonely drum beat holds our hands while we exit stage left, with a chorus of “oohs” leading the way.

The Static Age made an album that makes me think of an era long gone. Flashy neon colours, Ocean Pacific T-shirts, actual videos (with girls with frizzy hair) on MTV and the familiar AAD logo in some CDs. By no way is this bad and although there’s one eye looking firmly on the past, there’s one that wanders aimlessly towards the future.

—Sam

*My promo copy lists this as ‘One city’, but Amazon lists it as ‘Metropolis’ and the file is called ‘Get free’. I’m confused.

Links

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About the author: I need a bass.

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