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Digitalis honcho and North Sea dude Brad Rose spends his downtime on this Altar Eagle project with his wife Eden Hemming, where far from the challenging experimentalism you would expect from Rose we’re dealt an album of slinky synthpop with soft girl vocals and warm cyclic melodies buried in a drifty haze of warm fuzz, metronomic drum machines grooves and Pet Shop Boys-esque melodies.
The minimal synthpop approach isn’t too far removed from Nite Jewel or even Julia Holter but with an insomniac techno pulse leaving the listener strangely detached by the seductive, distant, smoky synthetic soul. The tones are really playful and detailed with some cool vintage synths flying around and the tunes are simple and upbeat. Particularly enjoying the closing few tracks, with some Inner Tube-esque fuzz guitar sweetness in ‘Fledgling’ followed by the uplifting Postal Service-isms of ‘New Designs’ and then the propulsive techno bounce and echoed vocals of the more sparely arranged closer ‘Hologram’ with vocodered backing vocals and driving synthetic bass fuzz.There are times where it gets a little bit drifty and anonymous but overall this is classy, enjoyable, indulgent and very easy on the ears, a spangly sea of detailed and occasionally saccharine driftpop that’s smart, smooth and danceable.
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