Undoubtedly impressive, well-honed and slickly produced.
Alix Buscovic 2010
Noise Won’t Stop proclaimed the title of Shy Child’s 2007 album, a sonic assault of hyper-charged, barely controlled electro passion that broke the Brooklyn duo in the UK. The noise, as such, hasn’t stopped for its follow-up – but calling it noise seems at the very least inappropriate, if not downright offensive.
Gone is the raucous nu-rave frenzy of Drop the Phone and Pressure to Come, with their urgent yelps and scattergun rhythms. The beast, it seems, has been tamed, and it’s grown up and left the dingy punk basement for the shiny synth-pop cocktail bar above.
Some fans might mutter that Pete Cafarella and Nate Smith have gone soft, and they’ll go out and buy the latest Enter Shikari offering instead. Which would be a shame (though obviously not for Enter Shikari) because, after a few listens, they might have found themselves growing as attached to this indefinable chunk of retro wonder as they are to its older brother.
Press play and you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve mixed up your records, for the first thing you hear is Fleetwood Mac – the floating intro from Little Lies opens the title track. It’s a bold statement of intent, heralding an album where the sounds of the 70s and 80s, from Hall & Oates melodies to Motown, are honoured guests.
In the main, it works. The Beatles, a blissful disco anthem that high-fives funk, is worth the cover price alone, while the opener’s mélange of Electronic’s twinkling keyboard riffs and Groove Armada basslines is lushly offset by its ‘Mac borrowings. Take Us Apart, with its buoyant multi-layered synths, is a glorious nostalgia fest, evoking all those Giorgio Moroder-penned Brat Pack movie soundtracks (shame the lyrics do, too). Criss Cross, on the other hand, is a great three-minute pop song – but it lasts for over seven.
Liquid Love is undoubtedly impressive, well-honed and slickly produced, and it’s shot through with a glowing joie de vivre. But it’s too smoothed and tidied. We don’t need unhinged fervour and barking fury all the time, but a little contained chaos here and there – a little of their erstwhile noise – and it would be an album to fall head over heels with.