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Review: The Brixton Academy Vivid

I once again evoke the theme of this week, this “things we missed” deal, and immediately forgive you dear reader that I didn’t get around to writing about Vivid earlier in the year. The Brixton Academy’s first full-length the type of album that simultaneously deserves a long, thought out bit of praise because it’s that damn good, but can also be easily summed up because you should be familiar with this sound by now. It’s the same 80s inspired electro-pop revivalists like Cut Copy, Awesome New Republic and Hot Chip have made en vogue recently. So yes…here’s another great New Order inspired album for you. A few quick hits…opener “Ready For The Romance” is the best Junior Boys track Junior Boys never made, “Lovely Lies, Little Signs” transitions from a jaunty-and-tinny electro song into a surprisingly emotional beast, and “In My Arms'” dizzying climax speaks for itself. In March I would have spilled god-only-knows how many words on Vivid, today I’ll simply yell as best I can through the typed word “GET THIS ALBUM.”

What I will waste words on, though, is the pure majesty of “So Shy.” A pleasant enough track when I first heard it in February, more time spent with it reveals it’s actually a synth-pop masterpiece. The instrumentation serves its purpose…the electronics, especially the nostalgia-rific twinkling, drape the song in an almost otherworldly sheen. It’s a very pretty sounding track, one which would fit very nicely on a “Tribute To John Hughes” instrumental CD. But goodness gracious those vocals take this to a whole different level of greatness. The Brixton Academy’s lead singer (can’t find a name, way to be mysterious) has the type of awkward voice usually labeled “unorthodox,” and it’s to his credit he’s able to carry it in all sorts of directions on Vivid. But on “So Shy,” he does nothing fancy, just sounding like his old, goofy self. Which, on a song about being so introverted in a club you won’t talk to a girl, works perfectly. The titular shyness drips all over this song, as the lyrics go “I just want to know you’re name/I just want to know who you are/you are the best dancer in this club” before hitting the especially lonely chorus “I’m so shy/so I can only gaze at you/you are inside my eyes.” Real talk – if you’ve ever been in a similar situation (which, I hate to admit, I’ve been in a lot this year, which might explain why this song hits so hard), that chorus delivered the gangly way it is nails the weird mix of excitement and disappointment one feels in such situations when they don’t feel like The Situation. “So Shy” nearly becomes a wake-up call as our narrator realizes he has to get some courage, but we never find out if he ever does anything. A vague series of wordless “wooooooos” close out the track. If ever the socially anxious could have a club jam, it would be “So Shy.”