These 12 tracks are more sure-footed, but the duo still sup from the same lyrical pool of loneliness, isolation and lovelorn despondency. Luckily, their musical compositions, informed by their idiosyncratic vocals and harmonies, are sunnier. They range from 1970s AOR piano ballads (Sophia) to acoustic folk (Forever Be Upstanding at the Door), but electronic undercurrents and drum machine beats heard on the title track are pervasive. The subsequent clash of genres isn’t quite seamless, ultimately giving the album an uneven tone. Any stylistic imbalance is easily overlooked, but maybe album number three will get it just right.
VAMALA possess a noticeable authenticity that appeals to us, and you can hear this quality shine through their song “3,000 Miles”. Although not overly complicated, the piece possesses a certain low-key style that could ease your mind on a particularly stressful day. The other new song that really stood out to us is the final one entitled “The Devil’s Carnival”. It deviates from their norm with its gloomy soundscapes and dim guitar plucks, but sanguine piano chords, too, provide enough hope to make the affair a rather inspiring ones. Additionally, we must make note of the unique vocals that narrate CHAMPS’ work and greatly contribute to their excellent style.
Lead single Desire, Blood and the title track are at the more up-tempo end of their spectrum, while Running and Roll Me Out are more sparse and haunting.
Their dual vocals on the gentle Forever Be Upstanding At The Door are reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel, while Send Me Down is just one example of their delightful harmonising.
If you like MGMT and Hot Chip, or, going further back in time, Fleetwood Mac, you’ll probably appreciate this gentle album, which is easy listening in its truest sense.