Artist of the week #8
Article by Matt Bassant
File under: Synth pop to Drive to
Standout track: Kill for Love
See also: Glass Candy, Chairlift, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Probably best known for soundtracking the opening scene of last years neo-noir car heist film starring Ryan Gosling, Chromatics started off as a no-wave band in Oregon in the early noughties, but after lineup changes, released Night Drive to critical acclaim in 2007. Their shift from shambling punk to perfectly crafted lo-fi synth pop happened so quickly that it was hard to believe it wasn't planned. The album, released on american label Italians Do It Better, was an instant classic, with highlights being 'Night Drive' and their slow and downbeat cover of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill'.
Fast forward to 2012, 'Kill for Love' shows the Chromatics have not lost their penchant for catchy songwriting, nor have they lost any of their synth-heavy italo chops, but new layers of melodic guitar take the group in new and exciting directions. The title track of the album is an anthemic piece of pop, but the cryptic and effortless vocals of Ruth Radalet add another layer of emotional complexity to proceedings. They reference the 80s without any shame at all, but it's not simply pastiche, as influences run through their impeccable filter and back out with real individuality stamped upon them.
The album is a very complete work, with experimental interludes aplenty, that fit seamlessly with the rest this band has to offer. Very accessible, but with plenty to excite the most discerning of listeners.
Catch the full album stream here.