In a few short months, 90s Britpop inspired Viva Brother went from being unknowns to NME cover stars. However, seemingly unable to live up to the initial hype endowed on them by the overly verbose hipster publication, their rise to fame was followed by a rapid decline, and in April 2012 they announced their spilt. Relocating from London to New York, they later re-emerged as Lovelife, leaving behind their Britpop roots for a softer synthpop sound with an R’n’B pulse. ‘Stateless’ is their latest EP under the guise of Lovelife, but is it any good?
Opening track Midnight Swimming is a slice of something vaguely retro with falsetto vocals and stabs of disco synth in the chorus. Think Wham, but with a modern makeover. Second track Exhaler shows off their R’n’B influence more clearly with a thunking beat and screeching choral synth strings.
Title track Stateless is spiky computerised neon pop in the vein of Passion Pit. The fuzzy ambience and electronic kettle drum melody of Dying To Start Again is similarly achingly current, and will probably be the soundtrack for a small city car advert sometime soon.
There’s no doubt that Lovelife are aiming for the throat with their pop hooks, but this is pop with a hipster sensibility, gobbling up various genres and regurgitating them into urban-neon tracks with airtight production and Apple sheen. It’s good, but, with the exception of Midnight Swimming, you may want to kick yourself for liking it. And then go and buy a small city car.