​Chairlift’s third album warms in wintertime

Indie rock outfit tries to build on previous success


Album: Moth

Artist: Chairlift

Label: Columbia Records

Release Date: Jan. 22

Grade: B-

It’s winter, it’s freezing and everyone is craving for a little summer.

So as the cold kicks into full gear, it’s refreshing to listen to Chairlift’s new summer-esque album Moth.

It’s synth, heavy, slow beats and guitar accents paint a warm beachside picture, despite its winter release date. The thematic core of the album – love and love of music – gives the album vibes that fit best lounging around with friends or a loved one in the summer sun.

The Brooklyn duo, consisting of vocalist Caroline Polachek and guitarist Patrick Wimberly, crafts minimalistic rhythms in its indie records that blur the boundary between calm and eerie.

The duo first got its start when the two met at the University of Colorado in 2015, where they planned to make background music for haunted houses. But after relocating to Williamsburg, the duo started to make its music making venture a little more seriously.

They found early fame with their hit single, “Bruises” off of their 2008 release Does You Inspire You, for which they were nominated for “Breakthrough Video” at the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards.

Since then, the duo has been in lingo, trying to cement itself in the indie music scene and reach a larger audience. The band signed to Columbia Records to pinpoint their sonic style, while also using the immense resources of a mainstream record label to push their music further.

Moth, their third album, highlights the band’s struggle between their earliest indie pop sentiments combined with their desire to move into a mainstream consumer atmosphere.

The album starts off in a relaxed, bassy tempo and then crescendos in their popish upbeat “Ch-Ching.” “Ch-Ching” relies heavily on its saxophone motif unlike the rest of the album – even the synthesizer takes a bit of a back seat in this song.

Nonetheless its sassy tone carries vague echoes of Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” as vocalist Caroline Polachek quietly whispers in your ears between choruses.

This makes the track stand out on the album compared to other songs like the more melodic “No Such thing as Illusion,” which is more progressive and entrancing despite the same, but more subdued, saxophone.

Chairlift brings in even more popish vibes in “Moth to the Flame”, which frames the track into a more cookie cutter genre, most likely made just for the radio, which takes the band away from the indie style of their other songs.

You can definitely hear this dual sound in “No Such thing as Illusion” as the six-minute track layers bass and vocals into a laidback hypnotic beat.

The album carries a two-toned structure between subdued indie and overt pop and rock, but its deep bass constantly blankets the track in a balmy vibrant sound.

Polachek’s beautifully crafted lyrics and voice vary from the wispy “Crying in Public” to the boisterous and rock-like “Romeo” in Moth. The “No Angel” co-producer balances the vocals with the bassy backdrop, drums, and guitar to create a glowing summer vibe that will take you mentally to a better, warmer destination.

Delmarie Lewis is a contributing arts writer. Arts desk can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com.