Generationals – Alix review

Alix coverGenerationals, songwriting duo Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, took it under their wing to write their first three albums at home, with help of a mutual friend. In 2013, the pair launched into writing their forth release, only to find that their eagerness was actually a curse in disguise, and they felt to continue as they were would be to repeat themselves. In short, they took out on a musical pilgrimage in the hope that renowned singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Richard Swift would be able to shake things up a bit. In return, Swift gave them this; “I looked at the demos objectively and really just helped organize the sounds into something that was sonically cohesive. I knew they spent a lot of time on their own, on their headphones creating these beats and bells and whistles and felt no need to drastically change them.” You can check out the second track off their album, Gold Silver Diamond, below.

The dancey electro-pop opening of Black Lemon set the tone for this album, and unlike so much heavily synth’d electric music, it retains the light, summery and not-overdone sound that keeps the track refreshing and upbeat. The clear vocals that form the foundations for the song fade it out softly; this album is, for lack of a better phrase, fun, lighthearted and alive – how could something that incorporates electronic steel-drums not instill images of a summer party?

Gold Silver Diamond (which you can stream below) allows the vocals to lead the track again, and at just over three minutes, this makes it as a perfect radio-ready single. A clear structure returns to the liquid vocals of the chorus frequently, with the impossibly high and infectious lyrics inevitably remaining stuck in your head, leaving you wishing you had the voice to join in, before Reviver reveals the inner air-guitarist with its opening chords. Echoing and almost psychedelic vocals accompany the riffs in a manner than sounds pretty old-school; by no means a problem.

The cleaner and clearer vocals return in It Took A Minute, a slightly more mellowed out track, but one that still leaves you wanting to dance along with it; imagine Fairground Attraction’s Perfect, modernised, synthesised, and fuzzed up a bit. Reading Signs builds up slowly, with layered vocals drawing attention to the catchy refrains that could make a crowd surge together at a live show. The second half of the album commences with a electro-dance beat that is sustained throughout Charlemagne, and which although the vocals layer over, still controls the track as a sold backdrop.

Welcome To The Fire provides a more staccato opens to contrast the sloppier vocal work that becomes hazy and lost among the instrumental of the chorus. Sounding slightly off beat and vague, the distorted vocals become almost hypnotic, repeating themselves and fading out in a manner that almost leaves you grasping them. The opening of Heart In Two doesn’t hold the same consistency as the previous tracks, and its minor but obvious variations mixed with the distorted female vocals bring back the old-school sound.

The more modern feel returns in penultimate Now Look At Me, another mellowed out song with the electronic steel-drums making their reappearance, before closing Would You Want Me makes it as my favourite off the album, with the brilliant lyricism you’d expect in from a DIY track and the synth-pop backing to bring the mood up. The catchy hooks that fade out till the last second and serve as the final sound of the album remind you what a brilliant one it is.

Mixing the typical sound of beach-pop and electronic influences with liquid, passive vocals makes this a chilled-out, light, summery pleasure trip. The New-Orleans duo release their album to the UK via Polyvinyl Records on September 29th.

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