Arizona’s indie-pop lover boys Lydia have returned to the studio for the release of their latest LP Liquor. The album artwork consists of a sinister image of a figure seemingly attempting to drown themselves. Yet, whilst the cover connotes an extension of their darker ‘emo’ origins, the music contained within it could hardly be further from this.
On their latest melodious venture, Lydia have quite apparently, and equally deliberately, created an indie-pop (with the emphasis on pop) summer album. ‘Liquor’, with its leisurely synth and innocent mid-range vocals are best served chilled, with a paper umbrella resting jovially on top. However, it is not that Lydia have not achieved this effect successfully. In truth, they’ve got the ‘summer banger’ routine down to a tee, with tracks such as ‘Let it Cover Me Up’ strongly resembling the distinctive sound of The Neighbourhood, through its hip-hop orientated percussion, whilst ‘Friends’ possesses undertones of pop juggernaut Khalid.
Lydia display an intelligent awareness of pop-music conventions, through their tender and anxious vocals, voluminous production style and popular devices such as lyrical repetition and pre-chorus diminuendo. In ‘Goodside’, tension is built through the sparse and steady pounding of a drum, as the echoing vocal lures us into the bridge. Meanwhile, the mentions of summer remain consistent throughout the album, ensuring that the piece remains cohesive and uncompromisingly structured.
Yet, the dependable presence of these themes takes away a certain level of honesty from the album. Everything is where it should be: transitions are smooth and instruments blend as effortlessly as sun cream on skin. Sadly however, apart from youthful love-orientated sentiments such as “Go on and lie to me, cos I’m falling for you”, all the album truthfully seems to say is “we want to be in the charts for a couple of months”, and I can’t help but feel this interpretation is supported by every track being between three and four minutes in length.
It can’t be stressed enough that what Lydia have created is a palatable, and convincing pop album. Yet, as I alluded to earlier, after all the production-focussed unification is complete, its controlled approach leaves the album with the same appearance as rubbed-in sun creeam: largely invisible.