Lemonade - Diver
With the growing accessibility and advancement of music software, electronic craftsmen (and women) are increasingly using technology to create not just club friendly dance tracks, to experiment in a beautiful, slower and at times bizarre way to create an overwhelming mood or atmosphere. Grimes, Purity Ring and Regal Safari are all relatively new bands who are prime examples of this, and so is the Californian band Lemonade.
Lemonade's fame began with their first self-titled album and their EP Pure Moods, both of which were big and loud with a slightly more rock-influenced sound. Diver, released four years after their debut album, has a far more refined and understated quality to it, and whether this is an improvement or not is up to the listener to decide.
The first track, 'Infinite Style', is an explosive wave of pounding drums and forlorn sounding but catchy vocals. 'Infinite Style' is the kind of song you could listen to whilst doing menial tasks like re- arranging your wardrobe or running a bath, and somehow the view out of your window would feel like a sunset over a beautiful Caribbean beach.
Lemonade's influences from world music become more apparent as the album continues. They can be heard in the shouts in 'Eye Drops' and Eastern-sounding synths in 'Infinite Style', and at other regular intervals throughout Diver. 'Eye Drops' consistently dangles precariously on the edge of a dubstep drop and the conclusion of 'Big Changes' sounds so house that it is almost approaching Guetta territory. The impressively wide range of genres and influences is something that shouldn't work, but somehow does, and makes Lemonade's sound far more interesting. The overall tone of the album is quite experimental sounding, but at the same time Diver still manages to sound like the soundtrack to the classiest summer you will ever have.
'Neptune' and 'Ice Water' are perfect examples of this. Both songs confidently dance along the line between 80s disco and the kind of music suited to the catwalk of some luxury fashion house. 'Ice Water' in particular captures interest as it kicks in with electronic punches and vocalist Callan Clendenin's incredibly listenable boy band voice, quite similar to the vocals of Ed Macfarlane from Friendly Fires. The track is full of lust-fuelled pleas "to feel your hands on me/all these thoughts that make me crazy" but the lyrics aren't really central to the track; the electronic sighs, sorrowful keyboard and tropical rhythm all speak for themselves.
One of the few negative aspects to Diver is that by the time the five-minute and relatively simple 'Whitecaps' is reached, the constant, repetitive drum beat begins to get tiresome, and the songs start to blur into one. However, as the album reaches its triumphant and pop- sounding conclusion in 'Soft Kiss', a track during which the soul-vibrating bass line belies the gentle title, you'll be left with a longing for white beaches, blue seas and an intransigent urge to get up and dance.