Brooklyn based trio Selebrities are to release their second album Lovely Things out on New York/London label Cascine. It follows first album Delusions (2011) and EPs We’ve Been Foolish (2011) and most recently, Night Heat (2012). The band is Maria Usbeck on vocals, Jer Robert Paulin on guitar and bass and Max Peterson on keys and their music channels eighties new wave with a modern twist.
“Found” opens Lovely Things with eighties disco synth and Usbeck’s vocals, which sound like she’s almost not bothered enough to be there – think Debbie Harry style.
“Temporary Touch” is jangly guitar and a more twee eighties vibe, C86 eat your heart out. At the chorus “You make me feel the dawn again,” repeats – a gloriously heart felt declaration.
Similarly wistful and eighties sounding is “Born Killers” whilst “Baroque” takes the feel back to disco. Selebrities keep the driving, high-energy feel up in “Lovers”, it is Kraftwerk-esque, Usbeck repeats in a robot like manner over strong bass lines; “I’ll never find another, I’ll never find another one, like you”.
By contrast, tracks like “Wither Away”, “Fell To Earth” and “You’re Gone” give a more somber, helpless tone with the latter including questions like: “Is there too many problems for us to fix?” “Is there anyway out?” and “Have we sunk too deep?” Whilst “Forged To Be Broken” is about being broken-hearted, the same C86 guitars ring underneath the narrative; “I’ll be wishing that I get to be the one right by your side, now the only truth I know is we’re alone until we die”.
Closing track “I Could Change” brings back more driving drums and a forceful melody, like danceable eighties disco classic. In fact, Selebrities do eighties electronic tinged pop music pretty well, and Lovely Things takes you back in time, but in doing so, you can’t help but think you’ve heard these songs before.
Reviewed by Heather Welsh.