I was remarking to my wife last week if any band or artist had, this year, produced a dreamier album than Dream Boat’s The Rose Explodes, which Rich reviewed last week. Just as I utter those words, Electric Youth, the young electronic, synth-pop duo from Los Angeles and Toronto, released Innerworld in advance. Whereas Dream Boat’s record is haunting and hypnotic, Electric Youth take a much different approach, using lush melodies and ’80s-style synth to create a romantic dreamscape that will take you back to the time of one’s adolescence and when innocence was the greatest of attribute we possessed.
This innocence is heard throughout Innerworld. On the stirring and M83-esque “Runaway”, Austin Garrick’s pulsating synths and beats create a feeling of time-lapsed photography, where images are just flashing. But as Bronwyn Griffin delicately whispers, “Maybe we could just runaway for good because we’re both misunderstood”, we find those one or two moments that we just want to hold on to and escape.
“We Are the Youth” and “Innocence” have a similar feel. Behind an electric drum and rhythms and beats akin to Bear Mountain‘s work on their great 2013 debut album XO, “Innocence” beckons back to the time of where ignorance where bliss, where not knowing something was a gift and not a weakness. “We Are the Youth”, meanwhile, celebrates adolescence and the carefree attitude that comes with it.
For those who crew up in the ’80s, the mesmerizing “Without You” will have you recall some of the great synth-pop songs of that era. With a stuttering synth that harkens to New Order and a pop sound that will recall Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, you might find yourself chanting to the chorus and reliving your first major breakup. “And this will be, your big mistake. You’ll never find another who love you like me. You’ll never find another who will truly care. And if you make, my cool heart break. Later on I’ll find the one to fix it, but it will mend…without you.” (By the way, Debbie Gibson did write a song called “Without You” that was released only in Japan but was no where as cool as this tune.)
Later in the album, “The Best Thing” acknowledges possibly the same person in “Without You” as being an important person in Griffin’s life. Keeping with the New Order vibe with the lushness of Soft Cell, “Tomorrow” is a mid-tempo number that displays the other side of youth – optimism. It’s a familiar refrain – if we can’t do it today, there’s always tomorrow – but an important one to remember given today’s times.
“A Real Hero” is a similar track about hope and optimism, but time in the face of adversity and life-or-death situations. Originally released in 2009, Griffin and Garrick wrote the song in collaboration with French electronica artists and producer David Grellier – or College. The song was dedicated to Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who you might remember as the US Airways pilot who safely landed the Airbus A320-214 in the Hudson River. For movie fans, the track was used in the film, Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Bryan Cranston. And while the track may be slightly out of place given the youthful themes of the album, it’s well-placed towards the end as a reminder that regardless of our age that we all have heroes.
Electric Youth are Andrew Garrick and Bronwyn Griffin. Innerworld can be purchased on iTunes (regular and deluxe editions), Amazon, or at their record labels, Last Gang Entertainment (Canada) and Secretly Canadian (US).
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