The city’s shimmering neon light, lonely night drives, new sobriety’s architecture – all these are pictures invoked by the listening of Chromatics ice cold disco pop. Over the last two years the Portland based band managed to ditch their former art punk aesthetic for an no less arty but more glamorous image. The merits of the newly founded Chromatics are not just producing easy to consume 4/4 beat dance music but narcotising mid-tempo pop with emotional and psychedelic qualities, you haven’t heard in a long time. Johnny Jewel (of Glass Candy fame) produces minimal beats and synthesized melodies recalling german vintage electronica or italo disco, while Adam Miller shapes the song with his stuttering guitar riffs, which are the last reminiscence to the band’s punk background. Both musicians are framing the background for Ruth Radlet’s whispers, sighs, soft and sometimes husky singing.
Highlight of the album is the Kate Bush cover of “running up that hill” which minimalized to its very essence manifests a deep, melancholic ambience. Apart from this song other ingeniousnesses are the dance pop hymns like “night drive”, “i want your love” or “mask”, emphasise the “club qualities” of Chromatics but still stick to their very aesthetic of heartsick pop. Chained with some more ambient-esque interludes the obvious hits and subtle hymns are presented in a strong interplay. “night drive” is one of the best albums in 2007 that doesn’t only represent a consistent and consequent design but still bears a promising future for upcoming releases. To put it simple: It’s just damn good music.