November 1, 2019 New Politics – An Invitation to an Alternate Reality (Album Review)
When Denmark’s New Politics first came onto the Alternative music scene a decade ago they quickly stood out thanks to their extremely diverse approach to music. From singles such as 2010’s Punk inspired “Yeah Yeah Yeah” to 2013’s top 10 Pop Rock hit “Harlem,” the band showcased an ability to write catchy tunes that could appeal to the masses.
Attaining major success with their sophomore album, 2013’s A Bad Girl in Harlem, thanks in part to the aforementioned juggernaut “Harlem,” they followed up strongly in 2015 with Vikings, an effort which was anchored by singles such as “Everywhere I Go (Kings & Queens)” and “West End Kids.” Looking to expand on their sound and challenge themselves, they changed things up in 2017 with Lost In Translation, but unfortunately the album did not attain as much commercial success as prior releases. Not at all an indictment on the material itself, which was all in fact quite good, New Politics looks to change the game yet again with their latest album An Invitation to an Alternate Reality.
Their first album with their new label Big Noise Music Group, An Invitation to an Alternate Reality hit airwaves on Friday, November 1st and marks yet another exploration in sound by the band. Working tightly as a group, New Politics are more or less three buddies with three very different tastes in music. There is the charismatic Frontman David Boyd coming from a more Dance, Hip Hop, Pop music background; partially due to the fact he spent a great deal of his younger years dancing, picking up what he heard on mixtapes. Then there is the more subdued personality of Guitarist/Keyboardist Søren Hansen who no doubt comes from a more Punk Rock background. Lastly, there is New York based Drummer Louis Vecchio who joined up in 2010 as the fun-loving, levelheaded member who honed chops on Rock-n-Roll. Together they make up a power trio that truthfully care more about creating something unique and pleasing to their own ears than just making a standard Pop Rock record.
Why is this all important to understand? Simple, because if you are expecting another album like Bad Girl in Harlem, Vikings, or even for that matter Lost In Translation, you will be thoroughly let down. As stated, this is a band in a constant state of progression, so what may have moved them yesterday may not be what moves them today. This factor in mind, An Invitation to an Alternate Reality is quite unique to their previous work. Nine songs in total, it is perhaps their most Pop album to date, ranging mostly between Electronic Synthpop and Hip Hop that is matched nicely with some undertones of Rock guitars/drums.
Not necessarily a negative thing, that is if you are open to change, the album is lean and fit with no filler – from the explosive opening of “Unstoppable,” to more radio ready tunes such as the bass heavy single “Ozone,” “Live the Life/It’s the Though that Counts,” sing-along cut “Therapy,” and the danacable “Death of Me.” In fact, much of the content in between the lines of An Invitation to an Alternate Reality is all bound to get stuck in your head right off the bat, and that including the Reggae-vibed must listen chill tune “Bad for Me.” Then those looking for something a bit more Alternative Rock leaning, they offer the feel good track “Let Your Head Go/Pretend It’s 1995 and Talk,” which is the oppose of the more intense closer “Wish You Well/…Can’t Explain” where Boyd stirs the car of an emotional roller coaster that manages to stay on the track without derailing.
Overall, New Politics fifth album vividly shows all the faces this band has to offer. Yes, it is certainly a Pop record, but that does not at all take away from the fact that the band has put together a really tight collection of songs. And yes, the album is borderline an EP as far as the length, but why go for more when you have nine little gems like this to offer listeners? Well-written, colorful, and an exemplification of each member’s personality, Cryptic Rock gives New Politics’ An Invitation to an Alternate Reality 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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