Album #195: The Naked and Famous – Recover

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Label: Somewhat Damaged
  • Best Track: Monument

The new fourth album from the indie electronic band The Naked and Famous is really all I have on my radar today in what’s a bit of a low-key week.

I remember buying their 2010 debut Passive Me Aggressive You after loving the singles ‘Punching in a Dream’ and ‘Young Blood’ – two songs that still sound exciting and fresh a decade on. I’ve found it hard to take much more than a passing interest in what I’ve heard from them since though, as the New Zealanders have lost some of their early post-punk edge and veered more towards general indie and synth-pop sound.

Recover doesn’t really “recover” my enthusiasm either. It’s good for what it is, and the guys are accomplished at what they do, piquing my attention occasionally with some of the lyrics and hooks. It’s just that this style of music doesn’t do a lot much for me.

At times, I find the vocal effects pretty annoying too. I don’t know how those sped-up Chipmunks-style vocals ever became acceptable in any genre except children’s novelty, but there’s a special place in hell for them as far as I’m concerned and they make ‘Come As You Are’ (not a Nirvana cover) unlistenable to me. Similarly, ‘Count on You’ has a bit too much computer-aided fartery for my liking, and my even enjoyment of ‘Monument’ – the best track on the album – is spoiled a little by the needless stuttering vocals.

This isn’t a bad record by any means, and is enjoyable in parts, but I find it a tough one to love. At the risk of sounding very finite, I think it’s unlikely I’ll ever listen to it again.

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