Brooklyn-based synthpop duo Chairlift recently released their third studio album, “Moth,” a 10-track record filled with lively energy and irresistible synth tracks. “Moth” comes after Chairlift’s 2012 release “Something,” which wowed indie pop lovers with fast-paced, breathy tracks like “I Belong In Your Arms.”
I fell in love with this group’s music while I was first talking to my fiancé, so it goes without saying that Chairlift is uniquely special to me. We exchanged playlists as a way to get to know each other while we were separated by distance, and “I Belong In Your Arms” was one of the songs I added to my playlist. I know, gross … and just in time for Valentine’s Day.
“Moth” takes Chairlift’s sound to a different level, incorporating spacey, layered synth beats and experimental, disharmonious background tracks. The album as a whole is cohesive, something Chairlift’s previous releases notoriously lacked. Lyrics from the group’s previous record focused on the exciting, anxiety-inducing sentiments of lust and love. Lyrics from “Moth,” however, revolve around some of the less glamour parts of falling in love.
Tracks like “Crying in Public” and “Unfinished Business capture the rockiness of relationships in flux, with lyrics like, “I’m sorry I’m crying in public this way / I’m falling for you, I’m falling for you / I’m sorry I’m causing a scene on the train / I’m falling for you, I’m falling for you.” Lead singer and lyricist Caroline Polachek’s impressive vocal range is on full display in this song, and stylized edits to her vocal tracks mesh well with the song’s background track.
“Unfinished Business,” the record’s second-to-last track, is weirdly beautiful. Its heartfelt lyrics, paired with Polachek’s passionate vocals and layered background tracks, read like a synthesized Danny Elfman score from a fantasy movie.
Highlights from the album include “Look Up,” “Polymorphing” and “Moth to the Flame.” “Moth” opens on a spacey instrumental note with “Look Up.” Polachek’s vocals fade in roughly halfway through the track, and the track serves as a stirring introduction to Chairlift’s new sound. “Polymorphing,” the second track on the album, is playful and catchy with a fun, memorable beat and fabulous vocals. “Moth to the Flame” channels “Bad Romance”-era Lady Gaga, with a whispered background track that goes, “He’s just that kind of man, mamma.” This song is a discotheque track at its finest, with a clap-infused synth beat and ethereal lyrics like, “I can’t help it / I’m a moth to the flame.” All three were instant additions to my spring playlist.
Like Chairlift’s older works, “Moth” has its highs and lows. “Romeo,” which the duo released as a single, is annoyingly saccharine. “Show U Off” is nothing particularly impressive or stellar. “Ottawa to Osaka” is catchy and engaging, but it lacks the unique elements that make other tracks off of “Moth” stand out.
To the pop music lover looking to splurge on a new release, save your money and purchase the three standout tracks I noted above.