The Naked and Famous, Passive Me, Aggressive You
New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous are invading the U.S. with their critically acclaimed debut, Passive Me, Aggressive You; thanks in part to their chart-topping single “Young Blood” which has surpassed 100,000 in U.S. sales. In addition, the single is being featured on multiple network shows including Gossip Girl and Chuck. So are TNAF the real deal or just a flash in the pan?
Thom Powers (Vocals and Guitar), Alisa Xayalith (Vocals and Keyboards), Aaron Short (Synth and Electronics) and David Beadle (Bass) are a tight electro-pop group in vain of MGMT’s roll-licking grooves combined with moody, dark synths reminiscent of David Bowie’s Berlin era and even Tricky’s trip-hop landscapes.
Right from the start TNAF’s 80s production values are simply awesome. Opener “All of This” is built on dreamy synths, punchy drum loops and sweet girl-guy vocals before disintegrating in guitar noise. Again on “Eyes” the chopstick keys, airy drum hits and compressed guitar parts are perfect 80’s retro that simmers with glee. Those electro-noise influences I mentioned before quickly rise to the surface in tracks like “Frayed”, “Jilted Lovers” and “A Wolf in Geeks Clothing” and probably kill live. Strangely enough the big radio songs, “Punching in a Dream”, “Young Blood” and “Girl like you” come off awfully forced when put beside the above mentioned pieces of work.
TNAF are currently honing their craft at music festivals across the U.S. so these songs are surely to evolve. More importantly though, this diverse debut proves that TNAF can stretch out and experiment while creating those radio ready singles. (Universal/Republic Records)
Rating: 3/5 Stars