[5 January 2012]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
The debut EP from Brooklyn’s St. Lucia is a generously packed release, with six songs clocking a total of around 25 minutes, but it’s also awfully frustrating. These songs, at their surface, are warm with layers, bringing to mind a hazy nostalgia for summers past. Repeat listens, however, reveal a cold calculation to that nostalgia, an insistence to get stuck in the near past—here, the ‘80s—that eventually derails these songs. When the layers fall away, on the clean piano of “Before the Dive” or the palm-muted riffs of “All Eyes on You”, there’s a pop sensibility to these songs that works. Everything else here gets drenched in synthesizer sounds pulled straight from the soundtracks of John Hughes films. The vapid cool of new wave has been working its way back into music in the past year or two, moving from the angular guitars so in vogue a few years ago to a kind of pop that relies on thin synths and all-too-basic beats that delivers a sound that should feel timeless. But here, with the overblown clack and clang of “We Got It Wrong” or the nearly identically crowded “The Old House Is Gone”, the music doesn’t feel timeless at all. Rather, it’s time worn, tied to a sound we left behind nearly 30 years ago, one we should be in no hurry to revisit, especially when it hides decent pop songs in the way it does, sadly, for St. Lucia.