Chew Lips - Unicorn
This concise (under 32 minutes) debut from South London electro poppers Chew Lips showcases their capacity for atmosphere but slight weakness for melody, leaving their ambition to create "classic pop music" slightly tattered. Opener 'Eight' crashes the party but forgets to bring along a chorus, leaving you to wonder just how much of the punch they're planning on helping themselves to. Keep an eye on the Twiglets because things don't immediately improve but, strangely, things do get better over the course of the running time - with the lung-bursting 'Karen' showing a capacity for Rilo Kiley-style indie, even throwing a bass break into the mix that would've sat happily somewhere in the darker recesses of the Duran Duran back catalogue.
'Toro' proves they can get the indie/dance/pop thing right but David Kosten's clean production, which verges on the spare at times, raises the question whether a little more fairydust might have allowed the songs to leave the capital behind for Paris, Milan or Tokyo - which they never quite do. Two gems appear at the album's end: the sing-song-y 'Two Hands' is reminiscent of Yeah Yeah Yeahs at their best and the evocative funerealisms of 'Gold Key' ("After the forest fire / Among the blackened trees / Among the carcasses I found your golden key") is gothic despair of the highest order.
Solid enough, but the fear must be (for Chew Lips and others like them) that we're already a little wearied of this kind of thing and have begun to look for something new.