Me and My Drummer return to dream pop with Love is a Fridge

Love Is A FridgeWhen did dream pop become this decade's lingua franca for kids with keyboards? At some point in the last decade, something tripped: Beach House became critical darlings; Bat For Lashes got Mercury nomimated, twice; M83 actually had a Top 40 hit. Christ, even The Sundays are back together. All of which suggests that Love is a Fridge, the sophomore album from Berlin duo Me and My Drummer, may have arrived at something of a zeitgeist.

If we're stretching the umbrella a little, the band seem more than happy to accommodate. Charlotte Brandi and Matze Pröllochs lean firmly towards the pop end of the spectrum, favouring big chorus dynamics to sultry minimalism, but there's a certain amount of switch-and-bait between the two. "Lancelot" builds with quiet synths and hushed vocals, employing religious and mythological language to add to the sense of grandeur, before "Gun" blows it all away, drums blazing. We also get the first taste of Brandi's outside voice, and it certainly gets a comprehensive workout here. Late album highlight "Nuts" propels the record into an alternative 80s, complete with a soaring, acrobatic refrain that would make Kate Bush proud, while "Blue Splinter View" even brings an unexpected country flavour to the proceedings. It certainly demonstrates an impressive level of musicianship.

Across the span of a long player, however, the results are a little jarring. The sense that the band are still trying on different identities isn't helped by the brevity of ideas in some of the songs, where middle eights appear to have been sacrificed in favour of extra verses and meandering outros. "Tie Me Bananas" is the worst culprit, an aimless mid-tempo strut that begs to be finished long before it's reached the halfway mark, and the core of a rather unfortunate beige patch in the middle of the album. Later tracks, including "Grown Up Shape" and "Traces In The Sand", bring some fantastically euphoric pop choruses to the fray, though it's a little late for what turns out to be an oddly back-loaded record.

Ultimately, Love is a Fridge sounds like the next step in the journey of two talented musicians who haven't quite managed to transfer that magic to an album yet. It's a shame, because one senses there's a very serviceable pop group to be patched together here, if they can decide which one they'd like to be.

Release: 19th February 2016, Sinnbus

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