Capital Cities - In a Tidal Wave of Mystery (2013)
Capital Cities is a fun dance-pop album, with its share of hills and valleys. At its catchiest, this is the sort of stuff that might make you forget the moment's ills, songs that beg to be heard on dance floors on Friday nights. The first two tracks, in particular, are very good. At other points, things get awkward or even ugly. "Farrah Fawcett Hair" makes perplexing use of vocal samples and tacks on some brass instrumentation. It's a sort of schizophrenic approach to a funk-pop medley. There are a few other duds around the middle of the album as well, and a handful of tracks falling somewhere in between.
Capital Cities lack the subtlety of some of the better indie dance acts, which may not be an accident. I think these songs are designed to be immediate and to-the-point. They aren't going for textured sounds or complex rhythms, not trying to drop any jaws. This is pop music, and to do it well isn't necessarily an easy thing. I don't think Capital Cities are masters of the style, but there is loads of promise here and a few songs I'll keep in heavy rotation for a while.