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Year End 2008 - Best of 2008Chairlift

Does You Inspire You

Kanine

Nov 01, 2008 Chairlift Bookmark and Share


Those who recognize Chairlift’s mesmeric single “Bruises” from an iPod Nano commercial will probably be surprised to hear the rest of the trio’s debut long-player. This Brooklyn-via- Boulder, Colorado, outfit’s musical forte is spooky Knife-like atmospherics and beat-driven synth pop. It makes perfect sense because Aaron Pfenning (electronics/guitar), Caroline Polachek (vocals/synthesizer), and Patrick Wimberly (keyboards/drums) started the group to compose music for haunted houses. Polachek’s chameleonic contralto is never supplanted by the band’s whirling specters though.

Chairlift’s lyrics cling to decidedly post-modern concerns. “Garbage” is about over-commercialization and “Planet Health” lenses a fictional world where the food pyramid is an ominous political edict instead of a health teacher’s advantageous reminder. With that ill-omened material the music rarely sounds weighty. Even when a dark guitar line claws up your spine on the downright creepy “Earwig Town,” swathes of synthesizer disperse into the ether vocal refrain. “Evident Utensil” amalgamates ethereal male/female vocals with dizzy swells of synth/keys, airy guitar riffs, and the primeval beat of Wimberly’s tom toms.

The second half of the album diverges into avant-garde territory, resulting in the two last tracks, “Chameleon Coast” and “Ceiling Wax.” In between, Pfenning’s love for Hank Williams (“Don’t Give a Damn”) follows the guitar vamp choral “Make Your Mind Up.” The track listing calls for some unusual tandems, namely the transitions in and out of “Bruises,” but Does You Inspire You is an inspirited debut that proves Brooklyn is still the indie king. (www.chairliftmusic.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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