Ian King: At least for the first couple of listens, “World War Pt. 2” can be skeletal and jarring, whereas “World War”—from Autre Ne Veut’s 2013 album, Anxiety—was warmer, downbeat but soothing. Does the sequel really pick up where the first left off? Maybe. Is the accompanying video, directed by Allie Avital, at least a little bit NSFW? Quite possibly. Does the whole piece make for an unsettling experience? Probably. But in a compelling, artful way that draws you in? Definitely. [8/10]
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Evan Sawdey: Make absolutely no mistake: Born in the Echoes is the best album the dance duo has released in over a decade, and features some of their finest pop moments ever (that Beck collaboration cures most diseases upon first listen). “Sometimes I Feel So Deserted” is a little bit run-of-the-mill ChemBro, and it’s zombie-driven music video makes for one of the darkest visual trips the group has taken us on. The builds are pretty typical for a Big Beat number like this, but at the end of the day, sometimes even lesser Chemical Brothers sounds better than most of the major dance music out there. [6/10]
Tampa, Florida band Makari specialize in the more pop-oriented side of post-hardcore, but much like Paramore a decade ago, they show a lot more depth than the usual Warped Tour clones out there. They allow more room for strong melodies, and bolstered by Brandon Cullen’s fascinatingly androgynous singing, the music displays a level of sensitivity that sounds sincere compared to the more pandering sounds that usually come from other male bands in the scene.
Adrien Begrand: Not too long ago I was wondering to myself, ‘Why aren’t there more bands using clavinet?’ From “Superstition” to “Trampled Under Foot”, clavinet always had a way of making great funk sound awesome. Thankfully Hot Chip remembered what a great ingredient it is, and true to form it makes this new single by the great UK band stand out from anything else this year. On a side note, I have particularly fond memories of this song, lunching on a sunny hillside while Hot Chip played the track on a glorious afternoon at Osheaga in Montreal. [8/10]
Adrien Begrand: I like the cutely choreographed video a lot more than the actual song. Watson has developed a terrible habit of creating indie pop that sounds lavishly arranged and produced, but so incredibly timid and spineless, devoid of any memorable hook whatsoever. Yodeling incomprehensibly will only get you so far. This is art pop snake oil. [3/10]