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January 29, 2013 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-01-29

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6 - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6 - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

The most wide-angled selfie ofall time.
bring style to syn

The twins evolve
with pulsating
'Heartthrob'
By GREGORY HICKS
Daily Arts Writer
The folk-pop duo has official-
ly gone full-blown synth-pop,
and such a polished 21st-century
music tran-
sition rarely A
occurs.
Tegan and Heartthrob
Sarahave never
been a force Teganand Sara
to "treat like Sire
(they're) oh so
typical." That
said, what doesn't make Heart-
throb typical? What makes this
record different than any other
indie pop artist trying to make
some extra spending money by
jumping-on the synth-pop band-
wagon?
Tegan and Sara know who
they are as artists - not exactly
a vocal powerhouse, but most
certainly a songwriting pow-
erhouse. The duet continues to
churn out lyrics that exceed the
work of any hit-maker, even for
its melodically radio friendly
tracks like the album's lead sin-
gle, "Closer." Catchiness is no
excuse to sacrifice quality word

choice.
It's not a complete solo effort
on their part, however. Recruit-
ing Grammy award-winning
producer Greg Kurstin to assist
with the album's production was
a well-played decision, given
his musical resum6. Artists like
Kelly Clarkson and P!nk owe
Kurstin for his work in breeding
an artist's original style with a
21st-century sound, and Heart-
throb never falls short of that.
Tegan and Sara claim that
this seventh studio album is
their most personal album to
date - strange, considering the
reputation synth-pop has for
being a tawdry tone. But per-
haps synth-pop is a contempt-
ible style for generally having
flavorless underlying composi-
tion. A heap of intimacy sustains
balance with the record's genre
approach, similarly seen from
British sensations Ellie Gould-
ing and Florence + the Machine.
Thanks to Morgan Paige and
his Canadian Top 40 hit "Body
Work," Tegan and Sara had
the opportunity to experiment
with EDM prior to their . sev-
enth album, followed by their
inclusion of "Every Chance We
Get We Run" on David Guetta's
Nothing But The Beat 2.0.
Needless to say, Heartthrob's
synthetic characteristics are
certainly no coincidence, given

the* recent DJ colla
By no means, howeve
work of pure electron
ration; the typical i
rock-folk fan base wt
exhausted after a full
Best of all to witn
growth of the twin
career. Generating sev
is no small feat, espec
the negligible amount
help they required.
that, but each recor
more musically rele
the next, whether i
increased album sales
charted singles, or ev
tionally getting their
on shows like "Grey's.
"One Tree Hill" and
Diaries."
The duet takes no,
even on the smalle
of the record. The t
through almost 100 a
before narrowing it do
titles - which obvi'
tained the title Heartt
Perhaps this is jus
tic fling for the duet,
potentially witnessini
tion. There isn't much
of pleasing a diehard
crowd, but some track
a Fool" and "I Couldn
Friend" - are mor
than others. Just don
ing for an acoustic "Al
this album.

F.. ,:-[FILTER
'What I
to The
By KENDALL RUSS
Online Arts Editor
It has been nearly 12 years
since The Strokes stormed
through New York City's Mer-
cury Lounge and catapulted to
immediate fame with their phe-
nomenal debut album Is This It.
The album's maturity, grittiness
SIRE and controlled aggression - see
"Alone, Together" and "Last
Nite" - make it highly replay-
able and perpetually relevant in
any conversation about the best
albums of the early 21st century.
One listen to the unabashedly
blas6 but irrepressibly catchy
"Someday" immediately hear-
kens back to better times where
The Strokes, Interpol and The
White Stripes ruled and rein-
aborations. vented garage rock. And just as
'r, is this a easily, one listen to The Strokes'
nic exhila- latest single, "One Way Trigger,"
ndie pop- shows just how far the Manhat-
on't be left tan quintet has come since its
listen. inaugural success - for better or
sess is the worse.
s' musical "One WayTrigger"is a Strokes
en albums song only nominally; the jarring
ially given synth and foreign falsetto (Et tu,
of outside Julian?) are about as un-Is This
Not only It as it gets. Until Julian Casa-
d becomes blancas languidly moans "You
vant than ask me to stay" about a minute
t be from into the song, you're not entirely
and better sure if you're actually listen-
en promo- ing to The Strokes. Perhaps the
work aired futuristic, inorganic production
Anatomy," shouldn't come as a surprise
"Vampire after 2011's .much-anticipated-
but-slightly-traumatic Angles.
steps back, Toying with weird and unex-
r aspects pected sounds in an effort to
wins went expand the band's rigid identity,
lbum titles Angles came off more as a dis-
own to five jointed 1980s wannabe than the
ously con- positive expansion The Strokes
hrob. presumably sought. While
at a stylis- "Under Cover of Darkness,"
but we're "Taken For A Fool" and "Grat-
g an evolu- isfaction" showed glimmers
in the way of hope, the rest of the album
Sainthood ranged from the bizarre ("You're
s - "I Was So Right") to the unfortunate
't Be Your ("Machu Picchu") to the down-
e stripped right
't go look- awful
ligator" on ("Call First seen on
Me -the filter
Back").
t mCall:#
Email: t

Ever Happened'
Strokes?

0

"We are totally in a barn. These are totally pleather."

RCA

"One Way Trigger" unfor-
tunately takes its cue from the
latter camp, sporting an angu-
lar synth that's more "Machu
Picchu" than "12:51" and a
similarly pioneering attitude
with ultimately underwhelm-
ing results. There are moments
where it works - Fab Moretti's
rigid drumming saves the song
from anonymity, Casablancas
gets it together in time to belt
a catchy, falsetto-filled chorus
- but more where it doesn't.
There's the crowded, haphazard
guitar solo, Casablancas' vocal
identity crisis, and, well, the
entire opening minute. But per-
haps the most worrisome part of
"One Way Trigger" is its distinct
lack of the scruff that distin-
guished The Strokes in the first
place.
734-418-4115
dailydisplay@gmail.com

RELEASE DATE- Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
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(c)2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Even though Angles got a
little weird at times, songs like
"Two Kinds of Happiness" still
packed a punch. "One Way Trig-
ger," though, is as innocuous as
it's disappointing. It's too early
to say The Strokes have taken
an MGMT-ian journey down the
rabbit hole - come on, this is one
single - but "One Way Trigger"
does little to assuage any linger-
ing post-Angles concerns about
the band's direction.
julian
Casablancas is
losing his voice.
"Oh dear, is it really all true? /
Did they offend us and they want
it to sound new?" Casablancas
coolly crooned on 2003's Room
on Fire opener, "What Ever Hap-
pened?" And while The Strokes
certainly sound new on "One
Way Trigger," it's hard not to
ask that exact question of them
today. What ever happened? It's a
question the band must address
on their upcoming fifth studio
release, but if "One Way Trig-
ger" is any indication, it may be
just as baffled as we are.
- The original version of this
article was published online on
The Filter, the Daily Arts blog, on
Jan. 27.
ALTERNATIVE
From Page 5A
unknown artist that I could
see sailing the seas of pop star-
dom. Los Angeles natives The
Neighbourhood have yet to
release a complete LP (with the
EP I'm Sorry... just makingland-
fall this past August), but the
band is edgy, almost as ifa live
current of tension runs through
each song. The genre is hard to
nail down (Rock? Hip-folk? Rock-
hop?), but listen to "Sweater
Weather" or "Female Robbery"
(or, the third of the triumvirate,
"Wires") and feel cool in the
process.
In the end, I'd be satisfied to
see any Alt Nation songchart in
the near future - if for no other
reason than to confirm my hopes
of a new era in alternative-pop
crossovers.

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