26 November, 2014 in Music Reviews
Sibling synth tyros Paperwhite display the skill to position themselves astride critical acclaim and mainstream success on debut EP ‘Magic’
ast year the Scottish synth-pop trio Chvrches appeared from nowhere to build a rumbling hype that saw them nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Since their success, the clamour to jump aboard the hype machine of synth-pop has opened the door for a series of new pretenders. Step forward Paperwhite, with their debut EP Magic.
Trading in the sort of synth-infused dream pop that Robert Smith might have made together with Tears For Fears, the Brooklyn brother and sister duo are an infectious listen. Opener Take Me Back has a glacial build-up, that then draws in a near calypso synth line buttressed by a vaulting baseline. Oscillating between wintery harmonies and summary melodies, it’s addictive and essential listening for anyone who likes their dream pop underscored by glistening electronics. Galaxy keeps the 80s vibe going, before Pieces gives the strongest affinity with their Scottish cousins. Gold then has a little of Soft Cell’s playful oddity, with the title track teasing out even more good natured vibes. Got Me Goin closes affairs with another chilly layer of synth and even has Kate Bush esque yelps.
It’s not by accident that Chvrches are one of the few recent synth-pop acts to truly cross the bridge between successful and critically acclaimed, it’s a genre that easily slips too far into either throwaway pop or moody tones. However on Magic Paperwhite set themselves up expertly to follow in the footsteps of the Scottish trio, with a record of effortlessly catchy poppy dream pop that’s both self-aware and well tempered. Indeed so well composed are its tracks that it’s easy to forget this is their debut, which bodes imperiously well for the future.
Verdict: Synth driven pop of enormous potential