If there’s one thing I’ve observed in the last eight or so years that I’ve been moving in this side of the quill called “music reviewing” is that genres come back from the dead, sometimes wanting to eat the brains of innocent victims, other times just wanting to get the recognition they didn’t get the first time around.
Enter Generationals, a duo who delve into two genres that have returned several times. Dream and Pop, intertwined together like colourful musical boondoggle bracelet. Like the Indian Summer some of us are going through, Generationals’ ‘Alix’ is a kick of warmth in a mostly clinical atmosphere that lacks the neon and pastel colours carefully stroked over this release. Two coats, oil based.
Samey? Perhaps but it’s more about consistency, not aimless listing. Boring? Never, not even during the slightly slower second half, when the pace stops being a brisk walk and it’s more of a sauntering jaunt. And even then, the best goddamned track in the album, ‘Charlemagne’ is in the second half.
‘Black Lemon’ takes a rhythmic cue from U2’s ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’: a curt drum beat starts on a serious note, plowing the fields for the rest of the tracks to find their time to grow and be reaped when ready. ‘Reviver’ is as 80s as they come, but not quite so. Sure: there’s a pair of loafers, puffy jackets and moustaches on sight, but the perm and New Coke have been replaced by parted gel workings and diet Red Bull.
Another highlight can be found in ‘Now look at me’, with a deft combination of warm vocals and Phil Collins’ drum wizardry. Alix specializes in this: crisp production for an atmosphere that should be hazy but instead is as clear as a Summer day that’s now so long gone you wonder what warmth felt like. Then you sniff on the fumes emanating from your cuppa to get an idea what warmth even meant and the music does a better job than that re-used tea bag.
It’s been a great year for dream pop. A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Psychic Twin, Letting Up Despite Great Faults and many more have been doing the genre proud, each one taking their own styles into the haziest of genres. Generationals’ Alix can comfortably ride this one with their peers. It’s a good company to share a trip with.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López.