A pleasing platitude lies at the center of Y.O.U.'s debut single, "Heavy Crown". Mastermind Elliott Williams opens to a bass line and a yelping vocal loop, and his first lyric is appropriately an aphorism from the title. This type of circus pop, unwinding itself and spiraling across the dance floor of the imagination, barely holds together, threatening collapse, even as Williams coos, "Everything will be just fine." The final addition of a guitar bridge and synthetic horns in the final 30-seconds brings "Heavy Crown" to rousing, heaving finish. In the words of Williams' last lyric, "You will find everything you've been looking for."
Sivu considerably alters the conceits of his first singles on latest, "Can't Stop Now". Settling into a churning and maudlin hook, "Somewhere out there we lost ourselves," sounding an awful lot like Jens Lekman, Sivu salvages any moroseness with a stirring downbeat. It's unspecific - Where did we lose ourselves? How does one know, in any sense, if one is lost? Why is the chorus so steeped in determinism? - but brilliant pop is often generic. Sivu sings, "retracing our footsteps on the floor", maybe an epistimological approach to figure out how we got here, but it's also our code for how to dance our way into the abyss, his best and final edict.
A whirring and plaintive hook sits at the middle of Jon Lawless' most recent work as Swim Good, "Grand Beach". Featuring guest turns from S. Carey, of Bon Iver fame, and Daniela Andrade, Lawless isn't interested in heading for the dance floor, instead taking the listener to the backyard under a constellation of synths and echoing vocals. The central question, "Would you swim far if you had the right lung?", represents an oblique interrogative, something stuck between the self and the other, a Kate Chopin-level question about how far any of us is willing to go when caught in a bind.
John Ross' Challenger project has been churning out the best electro-pop in New York City for three years now, and latest single, "How Terrorism Brought Us Back Together" is no exception, save a marginal move from the synthesizer left to the "full band" middle. The first single from coming sophomore LP, Back to Bellevue, the song is rooted in a melody that unintentionally eludes to recent Foster the People non-jam "Coming of Age", but Ross instead finds something darkly provocative here. The vocal enters late, the first lyric a dangerous cocktail of colloquialism and mutuality. Ross is his confessional best manipulating a phrase like, "Let down by the low hanging fruit, ducking counts for something, I don't know about you." The electro-pop soft edges are hardened here, the most "full-band" sound from Ross to date, maybe the final step in an argument about the terror of unity.