Electric Sunset Electric Sunset

[K; 2010]

Styles: psych-pop, Starbucks rock
Others: Desolation Wilderness, Deerhunter, railcars, Floating Action

It’s never a good sign when I sit down to write a review of an album and realize that, having listened to it over a dozen times, I still can’t recall the name of a single song. There are certain records that not only discourage close attention, but also seem to actively resist it. Unfortunately, Electric Sunset, the self-titled debut from former Desolation Wilderness front man Nic Zwart, is one such record.

Despite my best and most sincere efforts to enjoy Electric Sunset, there seems to be something hardwired in my brain that automatically filters it out as white noise. Perhaps psych-pop — or at least this glossy, beach-ready brand of it — might very well become the elevator music of our generation. The shimmery haze of the album’s production grinds every peak and valley down into a steady, monotonous even keel, while the vocals do everything in their power not to harsh your mellow. This is Deerhunter bleached from overexposure to the sun and rubbed down with peroxide until every sickly flap of skin is clean and sterile.

A general lack of tension is a recurring gripe in my reviews, but Electric Sunset take that failing to astonishing new heights. Moments of abstraction — like the twittering, glitchy opening to “Soda” — resolve themselves so quickly you almost feel like Zwart wants to apologize for them, while the backbeats are made up of nothing but the gentlest of barely-there electronic percussion. He embellishes his songs with a lot of synthesized bells and whistles, but for what? No matter how much is going on in the background, Zwart’s heavily processed vocals make everything sound the same.

Listening to Electric Sunset calls to mind a variety of lackluster albums that I’ve listened to over the past year and a half, and it’s depressing that any one of them is more memorable than this. The record is pretty in the way a reality TV star is pretty: it meets every surface-level requirement for conventional beauty, but lacks any kind of depth or mystery.

Links: Electric Sunset - K

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