ALBUM REVIEW: “Does You Inspire You” by Chairlift
Does You Inspire You
Any band might get dollar-sign eyes at the prospect of having their song in an iPod commercial, but the use of Chairlift’s “Bruises” seems a bit odd. Though bouncy and cute, it tells of one going to great physical lengths to impress a potential lover, ending up bruised and alone. This does not make me want to buy an iPod. Perhaps the advertising moguls intended for the synth-swathed yodeling interlude to celebrate the jubilation one may incur when given a rainbow of color options for today’s hottest gadget. The tone sounds right for product pushing, and Chairlift certainly achieves the coveted spotlight of exposure, but consumers everywhere might be in for a surprise when they rush to the iTunes stone. This Brooklyn via Colorado band’s debut album, Does You Inspire You, is not a jumpy, lo-fi disc full of similarly airy hits, but rather is full of gloomy musings that might actually scare you silly. In fact, these guys supposedly made the album as a deliberate attempt to “make live music for haunted houses.”
And that they did. From the novelty witch cackles in “Territory” to the Vincent Price vocal echo on “Evident Utensil,” the album slides through room after room of scary buzzing, heavy plodding, and ghostly howls. The songs fit into the pop category, but are too weighted in mood-altering eeriness to be taken lightly. Singer Caroline Polachek has a lovely, versatile voice that can be soothing and trustworthy as on “Garbage,” or playful and seductive as on “Planet Health.” The latter song is a definite standout with its exotic hook that dances around Polachek’s jaded exclamations, and crashing gongs that blend into the track’s overwhelmingly ’80s drawl. It’s driven to perfection with the mocking repetition of the line “Stop, drop and roll” in a pseudo-seductive tone a la Flight of the Concords. Much of Does You Inspire You is concerned with an 80’s cheesiness as it shifts from straightforward pop to gloomy, languid ruminations. The overall result may confuse some iPod buyers, but makes for a hauntingly pleasant album.