Synth rock can take the guise of many forms and that is exactly what Landroid explore in their new album ‘imperial dunes’. As with most expansive albums like this, some tracks will appeal to your taste more than others but a few songs really stand out as impressive regardless of your musical tilts.
Those impressive standouts will be personal to each listener but for me, they were the glorious ballad ‘A Cloud Goes By’ and Lamb-esque cine-pop ‘Yellow Sea’. The beauty in both of these tracks is that vocalist Cooper is given the room to shine and the percussion and synths allow for everything to feel full and emotive.
The same can be also be said for clever closing track ‘Set on Fire’ which feels more dystopian and Curve-Curve-lite. The other track that gelled with me was the French sung ‘Ca Plane Pour Moi’. It’s got such a silly cheesy vibe that evokes 90s pop-rock that you could enjoy it at a retro disco.
The other tracks on the album didn’t quite come together for me as well as these. I felt they slipped into an empty slow tempo grind and began bleeding into each other. The synth-country ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ I’m sure will find fans, as will the theatrically witchy opener ‘So Say We All’ but the vocal delivery is quite divisive. It’s acutely over the top with its kooky drama and took me a few listens to even attune my ears to enjoy it at all. That being said, with some clever production tricks the slow chords and tempo could be masked in the future and it may just be down to expectations. I came into the album hearing the faster tempo, fuller songs. When I was greeted with an album that’s chock full of slow burners, it felt a bit off message from where I was coming from. Maybe giving the album a break and returning to it with my memory cleansed will yield more satisfaction.
So Landroid is a mixed bag for me. There are a couple of outstanding tracks mixed in a lot of styles that you can pick and choose from – particularly if you prefer your electric synths at a slower tempo. In a day of streaming and personalised playlists picking the songs that gel isn’t a problem but it does make recommending the album a smidge more difficult. Landroid are well worth a spin to see if something will click and I’ll be interested to see what the duo follow this up with. Add a point onto the score if you enjoy synth ballads.
Recommended track: A Cloud Goes By
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