The beauty of Glass Candy and Chromatics and actually just about everything released on the Italians Do It Better label is that each release populates an increasingly hermetic world of dusky sunset pinks, shiny cars, and a kind of slick forlornness that hangs so heavy that it exists in even the empty spaces between instruments. It’s such an omnipresent feeling, in fact, that they’re even able to pull a Neil Young cover into the mix without it sounding weird. It’s a difficult sound to pull off, and both Glass Candy and Chromatics have been successful to varying degrees at different points. Last week Johnny Jewel, the producer/band member behind both projects, put Chromatics’ Kill for Love, their first album since 2007, on Soundcloud. I didn’t write about it then for multiple reasons. First, it’s a daunting listen. There’s an hour-and-a-half of music to take in, and it sticks so closely to an emotional formula that it really puts you in a mood. Second, I honestly wasn’t sure I’d still care. A lot’s happened since ’07, and music taste often shifts and transforms. Would Chromatics be able to transcend the multiple movements and revivals and bizarre clashes that music has gone through since their last release? Over the weekend, I listened pretty much only to Kill for Love, and without losing any of the sadness that made them so appealing in the first place, the band has successfully made the jump. I’m not exactly sure what that jump is, necessarily, but Kill for Love feels simultaneously new, and without a specific age. This could have come out any time in the last three decades and it would have made sense. Yeah, in the wrong hands, a lot of this stuff would come off as cheesy—but it just proves that if you dedicate a lot of time, thought, and skill to studying a specific strain of pop music, you’ll create something approaching a perfect world. In this case, that world happens to be perpetually neon lit and wistful about love. It’s worth hanging out in.
Stream: Chromatics, Kill for Love