Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tropics- Parodia Flare REVIEW

You would be hard pressed to find a more appropriate name than Tropics for Chris Ward’s steamy synthpop outfit. The music here actually feels humid. A British multi-instrumentalist with a gift for seamless atmosphere, Ward works overtime on his debut LP, Parodia Flare- scheduled to drop September 18th. You name it, he tackles it: synths, guitars, percussion, as well as some sporadic vocals purposefully stifled with lo-fi distortion- all infused with a trademark vintage/utopian aura.

This sounds pleasant enough on paper. And more often that not, Parodia Flare is immensely enjoyable to the ear as well. However, in the overexposed wake of The Subgenre That Shall Not Be Named (read: chillwave), this type of thing feels more than a little familiar. Frustratingly, Tropics seems content spinning its wheels, only threatening to build momentum in the album’s first half. The tracks inevitably drift into each other, only to casually drift apart again later- understandably in love with their own beauty. Make no mistake about it- tunes such as “Mouves”, “Wear Out”, and “Telessar” are some exquisitely structured sonic delicacies. Additionally, the upbeat “Playgrounds picks up Flare when things begin to sag into the redundancy on the home stretch. But as lovely as the album sounds, it is assembled with virtually no sense of urgency. And this undermines any electricity it manages to conjure up. With Parodia Flare, the listener keeps waiting for a pulse. But on this debut LP, Tropics is only a mirage.

Here is the really cool video for "Mouves":

- Fr. Jones

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