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Album Review: Matter by St. Lucia

Jean-Philip Grobler – better known as front-man of “St. Lucia” – rang in 2016 with their second studio album, Matter. Released January 29, Matter is fifty-three minutes of synth-heavy jams. From upbeat tracks like “Do You Remember” to the more laid-back “Love Somebody,” St. Lucia shows their knack for musical range while still delivering a cohesive album.

Promotion for Dancing on Glass, courtesy of consequenceofsound.net
Promotion for Dancing on Glass, courtesy of consequenceofsound.net

Memorable Tracks

Dancing on Glass definitely takes the cake for catchiest track. It’s the perfect mix of groovy synth and modern pop beats. A cheerful song with a more serious conceptDancing on Glass is the perfect mix of summer fun and stoned existentialism.

With its driving synth bass and structured harmonies, Rescue Me has a more futuristic vibe to it. While the lyrics may not be the most creative or original (he says “rescue me” 22 times in a row. Yeah, I counted), turn it on and try not to bop along. I dare you.

You know that song that makes you want to drive into the sunset with your friends? Always is that song. It’s feel-good and happy-go-lucky to the core – until you look up the lyrics. Suddenly, you’re car ride looks like it’s heading towards a cliff instead of a beautiful sunset. St. Lucia has a real talent for taking serious thoughts and ideas and lightening them up with some cool synthesizer and even cooler harmonies. Damn you and your deceptions, St. Lucia. Damn you.

More Memorable Tracks (but memorable for being disappointing)

Remember Rescue Me? I liked that song. Apparently, so did Jean-Philip – so much, that he copy-and-pasted it and made Physical. The lyrics are mad different, I’ll give you that, but on an album that has such a consistent sound, you’ve got to be able to distinguish your tracks. Physical was not a great example of successful distinction.

Members of St. Lucia, courtesy of spin.com
Members of St. Lucia, courtesy of spin.com

Help Me Run Away is actually not a bad track. It’s just too 80’s for me. St. Lucia borders pretty hard on 80’s funk throughout the album, but Help Me Run Away really went all the way. Once again, the concept of running from your demons and needing to escape your own head is great. However, there was nothing outstanding about the actual music. In concert it might be more impressive, but over Spotify it sounds more like an overenthusiastic final number of some cheesy rom-com.

Tracks that were “meh”

So the range I was talking about earlier? Stay actually took the music to a very different place. However, I wasn’t totally sold on that new place. I had Imagine Dragons running through my head the whole time, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I’d like to think St. Lucia tries a bit more for originality than was expressed in Stay. Would I dance to it? Hell yeah. Am I impressed? Not really.

The Winds of Change. Oh, god. The fact that the title is the cliche to end all cliches puts it at the bottom of my list. The lyrics are really poorly constructed in the song. It’s a perfect example of writing some lyrics, getting way too attached, and then throwing them on the first generic riff you can think of. I’ve written that song, believe me, I know the struggle.

Game 4 U is pretty hip and happening. Not a horrible song, but not totally spectacular either. Same thing with Home, although Home was kind of like Help Me Run Away. I’m really not digging the full-on 80’s funk. As an artist, you show so much more skill when you take a certain style of music and put a modern twist on it than if you just recreate something we’ve all heard time and time again.

General takeaway? St. Lucia’s definitely got talent. Is the album a home run? No way. It is a good place to start, and I’m interested to see what the group pulls out in the future. If any of the songs intrigued you, you can find the whole album on Spotify or check out a few tracks below: