This ‘Many Things’ article was written by Lucy Allan, a GIGsoup contributor
There’s a good thirty years’ worth of pop influences going on in Many Things’ new album, Burn Together. It’s worth a listen just to try and count them: there’s the unabashed fun of disco, the soulfully camp vocals of eighties acts like the Pet Shop Boys, rounded off with an up-to the minute pop/dance sound. To a modern audience they’ll draw comparison with the likes of Scissor Sisters and The Killers, and, if this latest offering is anything to go by, they’re the kind of act that deserves the same success.
Things kick off in an irresistibly upbeat fashion: ‘Holy Fire’ is an instantly anthemic mix of EDM and disco. It’s a ridiculously fun song , breaking in to a middle eight that eggs you on to ‘throw up your hands now’ – complete with gospel chanting, taking catchy pop to religious heights. ‘Dear One’ is a similarly joyful affair with more obvious EDM influences, making it the perfect soundtrack for a night out
For the most part, Many Things have succeeded in making music that is upbeat without being shallow: to the contrary, the infections beats often disguises sad, thoughtful lyrics. This is particularly the case in ‘Alpha Romeo’, with its touching lines like ‘when people ask me if I’m alright/ I’m tired of lying’. This unexpected depth gives the album a feeling of celebrating despite hardship, of having pain in one’s life but dancing anyway.
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There are, unfortunately, a few tracks toward the end of the album which start to feel a little formulaic: missing out on the depth and quality of the rest of the album and trying too hard to be uplifting – overproduced and underwritten, they end up feeling just a little empty.
In fact, the true gems of the album are the tracks that deviate most from this formula. ‘Chains’ is much more in the vein of acts like Lorde: dark indie synth-pop, replacing the bright and lavish vibe of the rest of the album with dark and moody tones. It’s all stripped down to the bare bones and it’s utterly gorgeous. ‘Paranoid People Meet me in the Middle’ is another anomaly: almost completely acapella for large parts of the song, and sung in hymn-like harmonies that give it a distinctly creepy vibe. A little out of place, maybe, but a strange and powerful addition to the album nonetheless.
For better or worse, Burn Together is an assault on the senses: the kind of music that you can visualise bursting with vibrant colour – appropriately enough, the more mixed the palette becomes the better the quality of the music. Admittedly, there’s a point at which the formula becomes tired and overworked, but this doesn’t stop the ultimate joy and vibrancy of the album from shining through.
‘Burn Together’ is out on 4th September 2015, via Dew Process