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Music  |  Reviews

Chairlift: Something

[Columbia]

January 24, 2012  |  10:09am
Chairlift: <i>Something</i>

If there’s a band that can get away with writing “Amanaemonesia,” a five-minute single about magic and a fictional disease, it’s Chairlift. After all, this is the band that sang about garbage and pencils on its 2009 debut, Does You Inspire You. But with a few exceptions — including the aforementioned opening track — the Brooklyn-based outfit is more sentimental than silly on its latest release, Something.

There’s plenty of talk about love, and some lyrics flirt dangerously with sappiness—including those of lead offender “I Belong In Your Arms.” On the whole, though, Chairlift knows how to keep things light and out of the arena of melodramatic with perky beats and synthy, psychedelic interludes. The major exceptions to this—and, therefore, the major hiccups on the album—come when the band slows down a bit too much on “Turning” and singer Caroline Polachek over-indulges in falsetto on “Frigid Spring.”

She more than redeems herself, though, on “Guilty as Charged” and “Take It Out on Me,” Something’s sultry stand-out tracks. On the former, Polachek breaks out her best lounge-act whisper as she sings, “I’m guilty as charged / Go on and punish me” against a backdrop of sexy syncopation. On the latter, she shows off her considerable vocal range, jumping several octaves seamlessly between the bridge and chorus.

Part of what made Chairlift stand out from its electropop peers was the way it brought together sonically complex songs and unabashed absurdity on Does You Inspire You. With one of those elements largely absent, Something is a generally enjoyable, but nonetheless generally unremarkable next step for the band.

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