“Are we in the future?” the band asks on the opening track to Now + 4Eva. On the contrary, this album kicks you back in time.
The stabbing rhythm would make New Order smile, and the layered music channels the weird electronic sounds of early Depeche Mode.
Similarly, ‘I Might Survive’ suggests a love child of Steps and Aqua raised on the stories of Daft Punk.
However, Now +4Eva is more eloquent and unique than just a hash of bygone sounds.
The album is bursting with energy, and is consistently upbeat in tempo and emotion. ‘U Tell Me’ and ‘2 Time’ are wonderful soul-soothing tracks that contrast the first few songs, and together are enough to cure the worst lethargy.
That said, the group seem to have sacrificed lyrical impact to achieve this funky sugar pop; ‘Boom (4Eva)’, for example, is need of a singable punchline. Furthermore, songs that are very similar in tempo are grouped together across the album, such as ‘In The Future’ and ‘Echo’. Their vast electronic landscapes and short replicated melodies make it hard to link a distinct sound to a particular song.
However, the sometimes-repetitive musical textures are rectified by the switch up of vocalists, a factor that helps to keep the songs fresh. The singers wisely adapt to suit what is needed at the time: ‘April’ evokes r n’ b with drawn out utterances and a mellow pace, which drapes itself atop a syncopated rhythm. Conversely, ‘Dream A Little Crazy’ is an anthemic crowd pleaser, soaring with attention-grabbing vocal harmonies and an uplifting melody.
Get the latest Pop news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more
Despite the well-crafted array of sounds, this album may be hard for casual listeners to engage with. Unlike the dance-pop of an artist like Flume, Now +4Eva requires immersion in its multitude of synths and effects to be appreciated.
Listen to ‘Dream A Little Crazy’ from Now + 4EVA here: