Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Suburbs - Hey Muse! (2017)


Written by Jay Snyder, posted by blog admin

It’s obvious from the first notes of the title track that The Suburbs are hearkening back to a time when New Wave ruled the roost.  Thanks to genre forging releases from American bands and the UK outfits, the signature sound was forged in stone.  What you might not know is that The Suburbs was among that first tier of the new wave movement. In this opener they cement all of the various components of the sound into place; chunky, funky bass guitar, stop/start guitar riffs with a punk/new wave/reggae kind of groove, well-aimed percussion and a strong lead vocal leading the way to pure bliss.  It sets the tone for the excellent tunes to come. 

“Lost You on the Dance Floor” has a hip-shaking, reggae-infused guitar stingers interpreted via ska, new wave and punk that really stick in the craw…  The dark yet breezy bass lines and driving drum beats n’ slinky snare fills craft night sky imagery as each element is sewn together by the starry synths and the juxtaposition of the impacting lead vocals and heavily manipulated female background melodies.  Combine a punk band, a mariachi band and Dire Straits then you will get the steamy, fizzy boil of “Je Suis Strange.”  There are vibes culled from hard rock, wandering riffage heavy on the ethereal twang, top tier vocal trade-offs, trumpet accoutrements and one of the album’s strongest lyrical arrangements.  A funk-leaned, rock n’ roll swing is employed on the blue-eyed strut of “Lovers.”  This mid-tempo cut is propelled by swooping bass guitar lunges and keyboard bass double while the brass interjects and the vocals answer with another set of contagious verses/choruses.  The Suburbs prove that they can manage any type of different tempo and make it seem easy all throughout Hey Muse! 

Despite a major in new wave the band’s has honor-roll minors in every other genre; the funk punk, guitar heavy jamming of “Can’t Take You Back” and “Unified Force” rocking a bit harder than anything else, “Our Love” making a tropical splash with conga style percussion dancing to watery synths and growly horns, “Cupid” turning to vintage 80s new wave for a strictly vintage representation of the sound, “Butterfly” drifting off into an ocean of sparse, arid synths and somber vocals that allow the penultimate “When We Were Young” returning to the aural feel of the band’s earliest releases. 

Hey Muse! contains 10 tracks and there’s not a bad one in the bunch.  The alchemical origins of the band’s sound are truly old school new wave but the band isn’t afraid to incorporate whatever style is needed to balance the songwriting mixture.  All killer, no filler, this album is a downright winner. 

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