Given the amount of nods towards 60s girl groups on the last Horrors album, this output from Rotter (and opera singer Rachel Zeffira) was almost inevitable. Full of swooning vocals from Zeffira and ladened with strings it as far a departure as ever, one that enchants the listener.
I’m Not Stupid is by far a stand out track personally, whether because it’s ultimately relatable to me or because it’s a fantastic track we’ll never know, but Zeffira’s almost childlike vocals on this track make it far removed from typical pop music, but combined with strings that make it seem straight from a movie, it delivers a power in its subtlety that some bands can only wish for.
Opener Cat’s Eyes roll along like the expected 60s pop, with the combination of Zeffira and Rotter’s voices floating atop, a far cry from Rotter’s shrieks and howls, which are thankfully lacking from this entire album. Best Person I Know is an almost hypnotic piece, sounding wondrously lustful in a completely innocent sense; it almost flows like a lullaby. Ending with the sounds of Zeffira’s hum alongside the delicate rhythms, it flows beautifully into I’m Not Stupid.
And that flow is key to this album. Nothing sounds out of place, it manages to connect 60s girl group melodies with enchanting orchestral pieces. Utilising production tools to turn oboes into synth-like creatures it what sets this album apart. Face In The Crowd sees Faris’s booming vocals set alongside Zeffira’s chant like chorus, surrounded by a variety of swooping and sweeping sounds and a fantastic bass line, ending with the haunting statement “You’re not anyone at all”.
Not A Friend is another lull in the album, but not negatively. Slow paced, with what seems like a setting the pace, it sweetly saunters along, with more of Zeffira’s child-like vocals, brilliantly raised just over a whisper in this track. Compare this to next track Bandit, yet another 60s indebted track, with all manner of instruments laid over Zeffira’s vocal, as it romps along (as the name would suggest) and manages to feature what must be one of my favourite lyrics “If you catch him by surprise, just don’t look into his eyes”.
Strings give a sinister edge to the track Sooner Or Later, couple this with Rotter’s baritone drawl taking lead vocal position, you’re presented with what could pass off as a horror movie soundtrack. As the song clatters along in a furore of noise, it manages to get darker as Faris’ vocals fall into a incoherent mumble as what sounds like screams resonate behind them. Ending with the tracks Over You and I Knew It Was Over set the album off on a high. Following the themes that have been prevalent on the album, love and loss (also pretty much the staple of 60s pop tracks) they see lead vocals fall between Zeffira and Rotter. Over You manages to display her classically trained voice perfectly, the emotions behind her words are obvious. Very much indebted to 60s pop in its fast paced nature, it differs enormously from the Rotter led I Knew It Was Over, an almost monosyllabic track on his part, that is as they put it short and sweet. It may seem a short end to what is a stunning album, but the richness that falls in the interplay between Rotter’s vocals and the instruments used creates the perfect end to their debut album.