james debate
james debate

Thursday 4 December 2014

Genre Synthpop
Label Secretly Canadian
Producers Electric Youth

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You may not know the name Electric Youth, but chances are you've heard the Canadian duo's music by now. Their contribution to the soundtrack for the movie Drive, A Real Hero, earned the group some serious radio-time while their debut single Innocence brought further plaudits and saw them placed on many pundits' lists of the hottest musical acts to follow in 2014, including that of The Ephemeric.

The highly anticipated debut album Innerworld arrives just in time for winter, a season that turns out to be quite fitting. Electric Youth's glowing, delicate music seems almost to drift through the air, over snowy mountains and glaciers, through the trees and right into your cosy living room as you warm yourself in front of a crackling fire. Band members Austin Garrick and Bronwyn Griffin have been a couple since the 8th grade and that's exactly what they want their music to sound like; nostalgic, comforting, warm, and full of childlike soul.

For anyone familiar with their first two songs, the rest of the album won't contain many surprises; lush, 1980s-tinged soundscapes with soothing arpeggio bass lines and ethereal vocals, Electric Youth have picked a sound and stick to it completely. That's no bad thing when it works as well as it does here, and despite the glut of 1980s-styled bands in recent years, Electric Youth's upbeat melodies and optimistic lyrics manage to distinguish themselves from the rest.

The first thing you notice is the quality of production; rich and confident, and it rarely gets a note wrong. It's unusual to see a new artist get it so right on the first attempt, but Electric Youth have done just that. Relaxed and tastefully sparse, and swells into action when needed. The apparent simplicity of the tracks belies their complex composition, which becomes more clear on repeated listens. There is something intangibly beautiful about what they have created here that would compare favourably to even some of the best in the genre. Innerworld contains the surreal dreaminess of M83, the sparkle of Empire of the Sun, and a compelling "otherworldliness" that is uniquely their own.

Innerworld is undoubtedly an album that works best as a whole, one of those wistful albums where you just tune out and forget about all your cares in the world. Clearly the known singles A Real Hero and Innocence are gorgeous. The more driven Runaway is classic, radio friendly dream-pop, while the blissful optimism of Tomorrow is absolutely irresistible. The waltzing Another Story makes for another highlight.

At this point The Ephemeric is aware that we are simply listing all of the tracks in order. The sublime flow and consistent high quality of the album makes it difficult to pick out individual tracks. In many ways it's an album that feels more like a film soundtrack than a collection of songs, and depending on your outlook you might consider that either a good thing or a bad thing. From our perspective it's hard to fault when each song is so excellent.

Ultimately Innerworld has exceeded our expectations. Electric Youth have proven themselves more than simply another 1980s dream-pop band and produced a debut album of the highest quality. Innerworld certainly ranks as one of the better albums of the year and firmly establishes Electric Youth on our music radar. This might just be the best album you haven't heard this year, and deserves to be your winter soundtrack. Go buy it.

Must Listen :
The Best Thing
Another Story

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