Chairlift – Something

written by: February 1, 2012
Release Date: January 24th, 2012


With Charlift’s third album release, their musical confidence has been put to good use without being over-the-top. Something is charging and sexy. It’s reminiscent of 80s pop-rock in its beats and use of synthesizers. The female vocals are as if Heart were placed in a 2012 synth-rock context and ditched their “girl power” aesthetic. Something is good for a solid jam at night.

“Sidewalk Safari” is a misleading spin into the first lines of the album. The sound is very experimental and charging, offering an entertaining peak of music qualities within the first few minutes of Something. It’s fun and it has a great jive to it with its retro psychedelic energy. The only problem is that it doesn’t sound like the band we hear at the end of the album.

Chairlift’s style is comparable to St. Vincent’s Strange Mercy, where illusionism joins together with the right amount of catchiness and uniqueness. It’s a great trinity of quality that’s not specific to any audience or listener. Something is easy to like.

If “Take It Out On Me” doesn’t move you to your feet and get you jiving, either you’re handicapped or you’re a robot. This song is a golden concoction of words and sounds that should propel its listeners to groove with it.

Maybe what the band needs to look out for is keeping things moving at a steady pace. A number of spots on the record become dragged out and slow, narrowly chugging to the next and barely making it through. If this were a consistent pace for the album, where every song was slow and melancholy, then each song would stand better on their own. But next to resounding beats like the ones in “Take It Out on Me” and “Met Before,” these few slow melodies don’t mesh well.

“Amanaemonesia” and “Met Before” are really fired up, putting the energy to good use. “Amanaemonesia” might have been an odd first single for the public to hear since it doesn’t really capture the sound of Something as a whole, but the song is still very powerful with its highs and lows encapsulated in a five-minute piece.

Part of the reason these slower tracks don’t produce the same effect on the listener is that when the sounds simplify, so do the vocals. Singer Caroline Polachek loses her spark when she reaches her lower register and the mixing is broken down to simple drums, guitar and vocals. What came from the excellent effects to enhance Polachek’s sound in more beat-driven tracks makes more traditional, slower songs sound ordinary. It’s these reverbs and echoes that make this woman’s voice sail away and sell her message.

We wish that Something would go out with a bang. “Guilty As Charged” is an interesting song but it’s not suited for a finale effect. Something almost ends too soon or too abruptly. This kind of music is the kind you want to hear more of, and that’s a success in itself. Clocking only forty-one minutes in the set is a real shame to the Charlift fan who’ll surely want more before its time is up.

Chairlift – Something tracklist:

  1. Sidewalk Safari
  2. Wrong Opinion
  3. I Belong In Your Arms
  4. Take It Out On Me
  5. Ghost Tonight
  6. Cool As Fire
  7. Amanaemonesia
  8. Met Before
  9. Frigid Spring
  10. Turning
  11. Guilty As Charged