Bleachers

Strange Desire

Written by: HES on 01/08/2014 17:37:38

I'll be completely honest: I am absolutely smitten with fun. and when I heard that the guitarist of said band Jack Antonoff was doing another project I was pretty much signed up to love this equally as much. And it continued: The first single out "I Wanna Get Better" is a rock-anthem so catchy and well-composed it should make any song-writer jealous with its bone-shatteringly melancholic joy. If that song had been a fun. single it would've sold the platinum.

So in other words: Everything was set for the release of the album in its entirety - I was going to love it and I was going to convince all readers of this precious magazine to do so too. Only problem is, that the album didn't deliver - or to put it differently: It delivered something completely different. While "I Wanna Get Better" has a few 80's references and all, "Strange Desire" is a praise, nay an ode to the 80's. We're talking The Cure, Tears For Fears, Duran Duran and art pop with a positive edge, but doomy synths. Even otherwise 80's inspired bands like The Arcade Fire can go home when Antonoff goes to town.

Antonoff's voice i preacher-ishly distorted in the style of Kraftwerk camouflaging an otherwise beautiful bassy voice - with a surprising tonal range (not as wide as that of fun.'s Nate Ruess, but still). Overall the soundscape is characterized by waves, nay tsunamis of ADHD-synths, echoed calypso guitars and drum effects. "Shadow" is a very good example of all of the above but also sporting amazing poppy melody craftsmanship. Overall the album is extremely pleasant in spite of laser-gun and fake thunder sound effects - I mean it's art rock, it's almost impossible to understand but it's very, very pleasant. The album leaves you in a constant, ambivalent feeling of "WTF" and dancing in front of your mirror in ponytails using your hairbrush as a microphone. Confused yet? So am I.

All in all this Bleachers-project of Antinoff is almost larger-than-life but also in some way very, very small and intimate. The lyrics are mainly about overcoming loss - something Antonoff has lived through according to a Spin Magazine article that reveals that his sister died of brain cancer at thirteen and his cousin died in Iraq. This vulnerability mixed with the extreme grandeur makes this album probably not the best of 2014, but a sure contender for the most sympathetic. I am completely confused by this album, but also so very impressed. If you thought this was going to be fun. 2.0 you will be very disappointed - however this album is just splendid in its own little different way, so very artsy, so very catchy and so very exaggerated. I have fallen completely in love with it, but I don’t expect the rest of the world to do so.

Download:Rollercoaster, I Wanna Get Better, Like A River Runs, Shadow
For the fans of: Duran Duran, Fun., Tears For Fears
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.07.2014
RCA Records



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