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After listening to Victories at Sea‘s new album, Everything Forever, I have to say it wasn’t what I was expecting. The latest single they released and the album’s opening track, “Bloom”, was featured two weeks ago on a Matinee episode, and the anthemic indie-rock tune channeled the emotional balladry of The National and Australian newcomers City Calm Down. It created expectations that the album would continue down this seismic path.
Instead, it’s not an indie-rock album at all. Heck, it’s not an album that fits perfectly under one genre other than the broad and define-it-how-you-want-it-be term “indie”. But there are two adjectives that would categorize the album – surprising and unpredictable.
One-third of the album is anthemic indie pop-rock. “On Your Own” is a pulsating number with an ’80s vibe a la Soft Cell. A track that is warm and embracing. “Poles Apart” comes closest to replicating the emotional indie-rock of “Bloom”, stuttering at times and building to its climatic finish. Then there is “Swim”, a cataclysmic, window-shattering electro-rock track that is mind-blowing brilliant.
The second third of the album dabbles in a combination of ’80s-esque synth-pop, electro-pop, and dreamwave, where the band channels everyone from Devo to Kraftwerk to early Depeche Mode. “Florentine” is a buzzing, synth-pop track that echoes of the contemporary reinterpretation of Louisville favorites VHS or Beta. So think a gyrating, darkwave, dance tune, which is how “Future Gold” could be described. “Up“ takes the synth-pop sound to a new sonicscape – almost a club-like, electro-pop tune with the swirl of the 80s.
Finally, Victories at Sea explore the instrumental side, once again through different lenses. “DMC” is a stunning, apocalyptic shoegazer that could easily be extended well beyond its 2 minute, 45 second duration. If extended during their live shows, this song could be a truly mind-blowing track with its mix of M83 flair and the interstellar nature of Explosions in the Sky. “Sirens”, the album’s closer, is a serene, ambient track. It echoes of the seaside sounds of Tycho, and it puts a dazzling end to this surprising record.
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