Billy Gil, Hollywood 12/17/2012
Talk about a leap forward. Indie poppers Chairlift first found success with the catchy but pretty annoying “Bruises,” an earworm that found its way onto an Apple commercial. Four years later, their second album ups the electronic angle and axes most of the cutesiness — tracks like “Sidewalk Safari” are as skewed and strange as there are tuneful. Of course, Chairlift can’t resist a sappy little ditty or two, but the romanticism of songs like “I Belong in Your Arms” is so complete and overwhelming, you can’t help but be swept up in it.
Brooklynites Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberley are a cut above. Sure, it’s eerie faux-‘80s yacht rock synthpop, like many folks do, but it’s done right! Pinging with danceable videodisco beats (Wimberley helped out with the Das Racist backing tracks too), it’s fun from the get-go, though it’s Caroline’s hilariously off-kilter lyrical anomie, wailing about an invented mental condition in "Amanaemonesia," or running over hipsters in "Sidewalk Safari," that really make it fly. Kind of like if a synthpop band won first prize in a talent show on Freaks & Geeks. Fun and engaging, while simultaneously cool, distant and weird -- a recipe for perfection! Somewhere, Devo is proud.