Minor Soul‘s “One Chance” is sheet-smooth bedroom pop, acoustic guitars and plinking synths soaring under heavily pitch-corrected vocals. It’s of a fairly polarizing genre — there aren’t many people who don’t have a strong opinion on Owl City or A Rocket to the Moon — but the genre is pristine when done right, and “One Chance” is a good example of what happens when every facet gleams. Its hopeful, upward-facing ethos is a pleasant reminder that music doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, a sugar-intensive shot of positivity in a style best known for that kind of purity.
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Cheshires’ draw is the way they put their own spins on tried-and-true classic rock, tweaking psychedelic and rootsy music into their own versions. “Love This Feelin’” skews closer to the former, rambling psych dustiness taking center stage. Guitars wail, voice meanders, and the song ambles along the path of synth-heavy psychedelic goodness. It’s a style that’s been done a lot, but it’s also one that still hasn’t gotten old, and “Love This Feelin’” is proof enough of that.
Steve Horowitz: Very nicely done! The Strokes take a low key approach to the music, and it pays off handsomely. The guitars shine through the haze, the drummer keeps the beat lively and the vocals are unpretentiously delivered with a smile. The band’s musical chops turn what could be an ordinary song into something special. The video has some fun moments as it plays with the conventions of heist films and greedy Wall Street pigs, but the “Threat of Joy” offers its own rewards. [9/10]
Wrinkles make rootsy psychedelic rock with a revivalist kick, the kind of exquisitely-produced jams that have been bursting forth ever since Tame Impala broke through to mainstream consciousness. Separation Anxiety is an impressive collection of synthy goodness from the young band, synth twists and echoing guitar played straight for immediate effect. It lifts satisfying elements from the major trends in indie of late — Young the Giant’s pop savvy, Future Islands’ propensity for the anthemic, LCD Soundsystem’s spare misanthropy — and the result is an album well-studied and well-executed. It refines the wheel instead of reinventing it — and given the result, refining is plenty good.