Hailing from Boulder, Colorado via Brooklyn, synth-pop trio Chairlift started out with the goal of making “live music for haunted houses” and there are plenty of spacey squeals and creaks on display throughout “Garbage,” the opening track of their full-length debut, Does You Inspire You—which hits shelves three days before Halloween. The song, however, ultimately aims for more broadly based scare tactics, as its lyrics read like an ecological public service announcement with an even more frightening built-in metaphor for the emotional damage one leaves behind: “All the garbage that you have thrown away…Your condoms and your VCR/Your Ziploc bags and your father’s car…All of your garbage will outlive you one day.” The album’s centerpiece comes early: Accentuated with the sound of chirping birds and Asian flourishes, “Planet Health” boasts a reverb-y drum-machine loop and squelchy bassline reminiscent of early-‘80s synth-pop pioneers like Eurythmics and Grace Jones (with singer Caroline Polachek on the mic, Chairlift is what PJ Harvey might have sounded like had she started making music a decade earlier). Chairlift can best be described as eccentric or quirky (the primary thrust of “Somewhere Around Here” is that “somewhere around here…there are witches”), but “Planet Health” is fascinating in how it posits health class as some kind of Shangri-La, with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and the Heimlich maneuver likened to acts of affection. “Bruises,” the latest in a long line of bouncy pop ditties to ingratiate themselves into our collective pop consciousness via an iPod commercial, proves that the band is capable of being poignant without taking themselves too seriously, but much of Does You Inspire You, like the ode to pencils “Evident Utensil,” veers a little too far into silly territory to elevate the album above a well-made and well-performed oddity.
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: