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The Suburbs

Hey Muse!

Review by Gary Hill
Apparently this act has been around for a while. I don't think I've ever heard of them before. I know I've never heard them before. This new album is quite strong. I'd have to say that I think there are a couple tunes here ("Cupid" and "Butterfly") that could have been left off to make for a stronger release. Beyond that, though, this set is just so strong. It's not that those two songs are bad. They are far from anything near bad. It's just that they aren't at the same level as the rest of the set. I think it's great that they start the album off with two of the best and end it with another particularly strong tune. All in all, I'd chalk this set up as a roaring success, particularly for those who dig new wave music and the pop rock sounds that came from that.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Hey Muse!

Some trippy stuff opens this. The cut works out from there into a cool modern prog leaning tune. Yet, there is a real soulful groove to this and plenty of pop music at its heart. This is such a great choice for album opener and title track because it's so strong. In some ways this makes me think of The Cure a bit, but it's closer to modern prog things like Radiohead than that comparison implies.

Lost You On The Dance Floor

This song is suitably danceable. The female vocals definitely add something to the mix. This is melodic, catchy and quite strong. It's just a great tune. While this isn't quite as far reaching as the opener was, it's every bit as compelling.

Je Suis Strange
The horns add something intriguing to this. The cut has a bit a Madness vibe in some ways because of it. Yet, it's closer to a cross between the Cure and Depeche Mode to me. All that said, the sound is still original. I don't like this as much as I like the two that came before it, but it's still quite strong.
Lovers
A techno, electronic kind of vibe permeates this tune. It has a definite hint of David Bowie in some ways. I suppose this makes me think of ABC to a large degree, too. It's a fun number, but again, not as potent as the first two songs.
Can't Take You Back
There is a cool funky vibe to this cut. ABC is a valid reference point on this one, too. This rocks out pretty heavily at times, too. I love the guitar sound on this and the horns are great, as well. This is another standout tune.
Unified Force
I mentioned Depeche Mode before. This song really makes me think of the classic era of the band a lot. It's an energized number that works really well. I love the bass line on this, and the cut is another of the standouts.
Our Love
Percussion starts this, and then they launch out to something almost like Madness meets the B-52s. It settles into a jam that is a bit more mainstream, but packed with retro soulful elements and reggae. It's another killer tune. I don't like it as well as some of the rest, though. The instrumental section mid-track, though, is definitely elevated.
Cupid
This is arguably the weakest song here. It has some catchy hooks and good energy. It's just not all that special. The thing is, there are albums on which this would be the highlight. This just has so much stronger material that it feels a bit like an "also ran."
Butterfly
A much mellower tune, this has some nice retro keyboard sounds. It is more of a slow electronic pop song. It's another that's a bit weak in comparison to the competition. I will say that there are some elements to this that make me think of Pink Floyd just a little.
When We Were Young

Some cool organ sounds lead this out of the gate. It works from there into a killer rocking sound. It drops back for the vocal segment. This is another that makes me think of David Bowie a bit. It's also another of the standouts. It was a great decision to save this for last.

 
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