What comes to mind listening to Chairlift? Birth control, mainly. Cropping up a number of times, not only on the album but in the first two songs, we seem to be constantly reminded of the need to -keep it safe’. And you know, Chairlift do kind of keep it safe but after a week of Scots pounding State’s delicate brain with songs of murder and infidelity, this is like an aural train ride through rural Scandinavia in a warm, new compartment.
Caroline Polachek sings with the sort of comfortable female tones that you’ve heard many times before, low-fi (on -Evident Utensil’) and sometimes cutesy (on -Bruises’, like The Cure at their sweetest) but it is appealing. Layered with certain light electro and the odd bell or two, Chairlift do enjoy their ’80s synth sound but they don’t overdo it.
The tone of the album does swerve about a bit. It’s can become little Portisheady (dark and smokey, but without a really distinctive voice to cut through the dry ice) and even touches country in -Don’t Give A Damn’, with some beautiful slide guitar and echoed vocals.
The B-side of the album (do people understand that anymore?) is the darker, mellower half and closes the album with the slow and swirling -Ceiling Wax’. The real treats are on the A-side, however. -Garbage’ is as good an opener as you’ll hear and very special when the simple but effective guitar kicks in. A highlight, -Planet Health’, is a very odd paean to our whole-foods culture, while relating the Heimlich Manoeuvre to making babies and how we’re all feeling great tonight. All over the shop, but it’s a pretty nice shop.