XYZ is the brainchild of San Diego-born experimentalist Rafter which is influenced by a sprawling range artists, from Talking Heads to The Beatles. Its spearhead single, You Are The Last Of Your Kind, particularly showcases creativity as bombastic drums and searing squelch synths set the track alight.
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Intelligent, nerdy, bouncy indie-pop with clear David Byrne and Beatles influences. That’s the sound of San Diego’s Rafter Roberts in a nutshell. So let me step out of that nutshell a moment… It’s like if Mark Oliver Everett / E made electro-pop. Or Hot Chip minus Alexis maybe. In any case, there are some gems on this record. There’s the joyous ‘You Are The Last Of Your Kind’ with its pummeling drums, happy repetition and twinkling synths. Roberts can sure write a damn catchy chorus.
Metallic bells add to the squelchy sounds and drum machine on ‘Lifelike’, with another jauntily pretty melody carried by Roberts’ increasingly likeable voice. ‘Oblivion’ still sounds like a slightly psychedelic version of Hot Chip. There’s more quirky pop on side B. ‘The Things I’ve Learned From Reggae’ lets us in on some of the workings of Rafter’s pop brain, as bloopy synths and bass swamp his voice a little. ‘When I Die I Wanna Get Some Of My Blood On Them’ is a much more cheery pop anthem than the title would suggest. It soars in fact and it’s pretty uplifting.
A decent record full of pop songs that will probably sound great outdoors at a festival near you. Or far away from you.
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- XYZ by Rafter
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