Leaving behind their DIY electro-pop-rock roots of 2011’s ‘Native To’ for the finely tuned, shimmering productions of ‘I’m Leaving’, sees trio Is Tropical throw everything they have at a mainstream audience whilst trying to keep their underground aesthetics intact.
‘I’m Leaving’ opens with the distinct anthem guitar slinging and chiming tones of ‘Lovers Cave’ found again on the closing track ‘Yellow Teeth’ with its crisp drums and hooks that resemble their much-hyped contemporaries Peace.
Unlike in their early singles where the vocals sat within a wall of reverb they are now standing at the forefront of the mix, possibly down to the growing confidence in the progression of their lyrics. Sitting comfortably under the summer sun is the sparkling, optimistic synths of ‘Sun Sun’ reminiscing Yeasayer’s ‘Odd Blood’, while the haunting melodies of Kindness emerge in ‘Video’ and ‘Leave The Party’ which capture the wallowing gloominess of an early Sunday morning closing time.
Standout track ‘Dancing Anymore’ sounds like a release from dance punk label DFA. A clear indication of the embrace that producer Luke Smith (Depeche Mode, Foals) has upon the album, with its stomping bass line and repetitive swaying chorus, along with a blocky piano break in the bridge that offers a complete panoramic view of a perfectly arranged song. However ‘I’m Leaving’ does lose momentum at times in the form of the musically lazy ‘Toulouse’ and tedious repetitive nature of ‘All Night’.
Although ‘I’m Leaving’ may be a mixed bag in the sense it will divide an audience, it does contain breakthrough tracks, ‘Yellow Teeth’, ‘Dancing Anymore’ and ‘Sun Sun’ which hint at further potential. Showing that they are at their best when balanced between the lo-fi electro-pop of ‘Native To’ and the blooming synths and thriving arrangements of ‘I’m Leaving’. Although with its underground values and darker undertones the album may not appeal to the masses in the way they might have hoped, Is Tropical will gain a growing audience within the less commercial scene. ‘I’m Leaving’ is guaranteed to be a staple on any indie DJ’s set this summer.
For more on the latest Is Tropical album click here
words Alan Byatt