July 22, 2020 The Naked and Famous – Recover (Album Review)
In 2007, The Naked and Famous came together in Auckland, New Zealand. Made up of Alisa Xayalith (vocals/keyboard) and Thom Powers (vocals/guitar), together they were one of the acts that brought Synthpop back in vogue for a new generation. Now together for thirteen years, following a slew of success, including 6 New Zealand Music Awards nominations, The Naked and Famous prepare to return on Friday, July 24th, 2020 with their newest album, Recover.
Their fourth overall studio album, and third since relocating to Los Angeles, CA after 2011’s Passive Me, Aggressive You debut, Recover is also the latest under the Somewhat Damaged label. A follow-up to 2016’s Simple Forms, the new album consisting of 15 new tracks full of deep lyrical content. Still electronic in nature, Recover starts out a bit more upbeat than earlier material as heard with “Bury Us” and “Sunseeker,” which was initially released back last November. Also softer in their approach, the music is still quite inspirational, thus making it highly emotional. In fact, as per their prior work, the vocal pairing of Xayalith and Powers is stunningly complementary; heard with comparing tracks such as “Easy” and the dueling on “Come As You Are.”
Additionally, Xayalith’s voice is still very strong, as well as well charismatic. This is while Thom’s singing is equally as inviting and compelling throughout. Centrally, the album theme focuses around overcoming negativity and rising above it all. Something The Naked and Famous are no stranger to, in the past, they have taken dark moments in their own lives and morphed them into something musically positive. This feel-good vibe is something we could all use right now, especially with constant negativity in the media and the looming worldwide pandemic.
All this in mind, the track which inspired the album’s title, “Recover,” is probably the most striking of the collection. Relating to the passing of a loved one, specifically a mother, musically it stands out as powerful lyrics such as “Regain myself and recover” project a sense of hope. Heartfelt and sincere, it is being able to move on in the most difficult of situations, even if the hurt still remains. Equally bold, and very relatable, dressed with the opening words of “I buried the idea of love, it buried me and left me in the dust, sometimes I don’t feel good enough,” album closer “Everything I’ve ever loved and lost is coming back to me” speak right from the soul.
While these mentioned songs are more on the mellow end of the spectrum, along with others such as the dreamy “Death” along with “(An)aesthetic,” bright, colorful moments also appear on cuts such as “Everybody Knows” as well as “Count On You.”
In all, there are sounds which bare resemblance to how The Naked and Famous are usually remembered mixed in with a newer approach with is quite effective. Aesthetically the music is strong and conceptually the theme of the record is perhaps the most dramatic they from the duo to date. While this album is definitely not another Passive Me, Aggressive You, it is still very meaningful and delightful display of modern Pop. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Recover 5 out of 5 stars.