Album Review: ‘Moth’ by Chairlift

Caroline Polachek from Chairlift, doing her best La Roux impression.

Moth is the third album from Chairlift, a band composed of Greenpoint residents. It’s a breezily-pleasant release, their first since 2012’s Something. Out January 22nd via Columbia Records, the album, while not groundbreaking, fills a need for apolitical, genuine, carefree and casual pop.

Maintaining their relevancy as a North-Brooklyn “indie-pop” band well after their 2008 track Bruises became popular and a ipod Nano commercial,  Chairlift continues to craft anxious-yet-exciting love songs that capture a particular moment of transition.

By that I mean moments like the excitement of the first glimmer of the city lights on a Friday night, or experiencing New York for the first time, or the awkward ginger-ale-like-fizzy-feeling of hopeful danger when  starting to fall in love.

The full band.

Singer Caroline Polachek described her and instrumentalist Patrick Wimberley’s inspiration for the album in Pitchfork, recounting, “We liked the idea of the moth as a metaphor for vulnerability… something that goes towards the light.”

In its charmingly buoyant, if unremarkable way, Moth relays classic scenes from young New York life, like crying on a train or relentlessly pursuing the seemingly unattainable (“There’s something better than what you’re asking for,” she sings in Polymorphous).

The new album.

While the rhythmic variation across the album is refreshing, at times it is distracting. On other, more pared-down tracks, such as Show you Off and Moth to the Flame, the band summons the irresistibly dance-y spirit of Janet Jackson’s music at her early-’90s height. Polachek, whose precision notably gained the attention of Beyonce, who brought in the musician for her track No Angel, has made another energetic and airy album that is sure to stand out as one of the more agreeable Brooklyn releases of 2016.

About Matthew Herzfeld

Matt Herzfeld is a freelance writer, music supervisor and musician, and serves as Project Manager for the Music Office at the French Embassy in the US. He is based in New York City.

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