Chairlift: Something (Columbia) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #39 - Best of 2011Chairlift



Jan 23, 2012 Issue #39 - Best of 2011 Bookmark and Share

On sophomore album Something, Chairlift holds tight to their origin as the bastard child of Enya and Tears for Fears—or, if you believe press releases, creators of music for haunted houses. This time, though, their musical pendulum has swung away from the Knife-like ambience of debut album Does You Inspire You, and closer to pure 1980s bliss. Call it “boombox outside the window” music for a new generation.

Now an out-and-out pop band, Chairlift veers toward the catchy on all 11 tracks of Something—stretching their sound past the obvious, iPod commercial-ready refrains of breakthrough single, “Bruises.” Like a rogue Florence Welch, vocalist Caroline Polachek slips from a new age coo to a creditable growl over the course of opening stomper, “Amanaemonesia,” backed by bandmate Patrick Wimberly’s sea of synths (founding member Aaron Pfenning has left to pursue solo project Rewards). The two are a power duo, oozing sex appeal on slinky finger-snapper “Ghost Tonight,” and building to the musical equivalent of a slow-motion run on “I Belong in Your Arms”—a standout moment seemingly constructed to make the listener mourn the passing of John Hughes all over again.

Once again Chairlift displays a potent blend of smarts and charm—more than sufficient to hide the fact that darkly humable tune “Sidewalk Safari” is essentially a clever reposition of Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party.” (Keytar optional.) That’s the album’s dirty little secret. The building blocks of Something aren’t, err… something we haven’t heard before, but rather a case for chemistry. Not unlike Goldfrapp before them, Polachek and Wimberly make a business of transforming electro tropes—twisting their reference points into funhouse mirror images of the past. Their vision is then sold to us with a fervor usually reserved for selling ice to Eskimos. We’re prepared to buy it all—hook, line, and sinker. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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January 23rd 2012

great review, i’m definitely picking up this album on Tuesday!  Here’s the video for Amanaemonesia, thought it was really cool

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September 26th 2012

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