It’s quite evident that the way music is consumed has changed. With the rapid (and let’s be honest – tempting) urge to just open an app and stream any album in the entire world, one might be hesitant to wait until an album is actually bought at the store to dive into it these days. However, as I’m sure most of you know if you’ve stuck by us all these months, we’re all about that life. I wanted to change up my listening experiences this year, and while it was extremely difficult to not give in to Spotify first thing in the morning and listen to the new St. Lucia album, I waited patiently until I was able to get my hands on a copy – reverting back to my childhood when the only way you could ever hear an entire album in full is if you went out to the store and bought it. Turns out, I really missed that notion.
Since their 2013 debut, When The Night, St. Lucia – comprised of Jean-Philip Grobler, Patricia Beranek, Ross Clark, Nicky Paul and Dustin Kaufman – have been at the top of the synthpop genre, inspiring other acts around the world while maintaining a sound that, no matter how hard anyone tries, is hard to emulate unless you’re frontman Jean-Philip Grobler yourself. With Matter, the band’s sophomore effort, the term “sophomore slump” is nowhere to be found, as expected. Expanding on their already-huge sound, this album, sonically and lyrically, is the perfect model for bands to learn from as they’ve gracefully demonstrated how to come back bigger and better the second time around.
Echoing the notion of “bigger and better” is opening track, “Do You Remember,” which, not gonna lie, had me starry-eyed within the first 30 seconds as I recalled everything that I love about St. Lucia. Mirroring what CHVRCHES did with their second record, Every Open Eye, the band took what was epic and shook it up a notch and that sentiment runs rampant throughout second track, “Home” and first buzz single, “Dancing On Glass” – a track about treading in dangerous territories for the things we love.
Stimulating our 80’s senses is “Physical” – a high-energy workout jam about well, the physical aspects of a relationship. Keep this one handy for a workout or you know…physical stuff. “Game 4 U” is reminiscent of the band’s 2012 self-titled debut EP, giving off their signature shimmery, summer vibes that hooks listeners every time, and quite possibly perfect for radio but hey, a girl can dream!
Album high note is by far “The Winds of Change” – a splendid mixture of dark meets light as Grobler sings in the first verse, “All my life I waited patiently / Just to see if there’s a place for me / In the blacklight, I found a different way,” sharing the sentiments of those seeking a personal revival of sorts from past painful experiences. Allow this one to be an anthem of strength as the synths pick up and you feel like you’re invincible. Following track, “Love Somebody,” is an old-school slow jam if there ever was one. An anthem for the timid and lonely, this one’s going to be perfectly placed in tons of Valentine’s Day playlists, for sure!
“Rescue Me” has you on your toes all throughout its one minute and 45 second intro, something the band experiments flawlessly (see: “September” on When The Night) while “Stay” glides right on in with a tribal-esque opening, no doubt a part of Grobler’s musical roots. “Help Me Run Away,” a track co-written with Bleachers mastermind, Jack Antonoff, motivates the listener as it packs on the 80’s sensibilities and glossy daydreams – you know, if you like that sort of thing.
Closing track, “Always,” features the lovely vocals of Beranek during the chorus, perhaps foreshadowing the next chapter of St. Lucia. Sharing the embodiment of Matter – themes of existential crisis and change in all its many pretenses – there’s no denying drastic change and what it invokes in a person.
Basically, if this album doesn’t make you want to jump all over the place obnoxiously, there’s something wrong with you. A fantastic start to 2016, Matter is the album to get your hands on this year, as this is really only the beginning of an extensive career for these Brooklyn dwellers – a band I’m immensely proud to share a neighborhood with.
Find tour dates and tickets here.
Matter is available now here.