Album Review: Generationals – Reader As Detective

Friday, July 19, 2019

Generationals have spent over a decade redefining and interweaving elements of new-wave and indie-pop to craft a sound that only they can. When you hear a Generationals song, you know it — their signature sound can't ever be mistaken. Though they've shaped a sound that's instantly recognisable, one should never accuse them of being repetitive — instead, the duo are masters of taking all the elements that are notable in their sound and redesigning it into something new and exciting with each release. Their freshly released album Reader As Detective, which follows in the footsteps of Alix, features everything fans have come to love about the duo, but with a distinct and invigorating twist.

A prominent and undeniable driving force in their sound is their use of synths. The album features the finer part of 80s synth-pop, but with a Generationals spin — including their signature sounds, such as vibrant vocal harmonies, accentuated basslines and textured percussion. The album's opener 'I've Been Wrong Before' kicks the album off with shadowy and persistent synths, before an array of warm and layered percussion sounds appear. There's also a catchy chorus that will be etched in your mind, even after one listen. Another fine use of 80s-inspired synth-pop is 'A List of the Virtues', which is one of the album's many highlights. The infectious number opens with glitchy and retro computer-like instrumentals, which continue as the track progresses. Though Generationals are known for their hazy vocals, the vocals on 'A List of the Virtues' are clear and crisp. The glowing track is home to exquisite arrangements and remarkable layering. Towards the end of the album, 'Save This For Never' is another sweet dose of the 80s and it sounds truly wonderful.

Listening to Generationals can send you to another planet — and just like the albums that have come before, they also achieve this on Reader As Detective. In the latter part of the album, 'Society of Winners' features lullaby-like undertones and whimsical soundscapes, as well as soaring and spacey vocals. The album's closer 'Dream Box', which acts as a final punctuation mark to the album, is otherworldly.

Another shining element to the album is their ability to craft songs that are endlessly catchy. Though the album is full of catchy earworms, the one that will be glued in your mind (and you won't even be mad) is 'I Turned My Back on the Written Word', which is accompanied by tropical sounds and charming instrumentals that are beaming with sunshine. Near the concluding stages of the album, 'Deadbeat Shiver' possesses a memorable chorus and trance-like production that makes you want to dance along.

Well worth the five-year wait, Generationals have delivered a complete and utterly enchanting release that contains an abundance of goodness and majestic soundscapes.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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