Garret Clark Børns debut album whetted appetites but his sophomore effort doesn’t satisfy much further. If it’s emotional maturity or lyrical invention you’re after, then keep looking.
In the first track, ‘God Save Our Young Blood‘, a colourful array of synths and strings flower into some pretty unexciting lyrics. A Lana Del-Rey feature signals the band’s climb to fame after Dopamine, however, her lugubrious vocals seem an unnecessary addition, blending too closely with Borns’ already vacant tone. Who’s mirroring who? It’s impressively confusing; you can occasionally catch them merging into oneindistinct mush of identical tones. The opener leaves you wondering what her purpose was, other than some eye candy for the track list – a musical crutch he never needed.
However, there are captivating moments of melodic imagination in ‘Tension (Interlude)’, ‘Man’ and ‘Blue Madonna’. Meanwhile ‘Second Night of Summer’ and ‘I Don’t Want U Back’ lift the album with bright, punchy chords to light up his imaginary dancefloor, but don’t expect any emotional investment. After a succession of cliché lyrics “I don’t want you back, I don’t want you back, I don’t want you back” their search for a transcendent chorus doesn’t quite reach the heights of Lana’s more memorable songs.
His androgynous vocal flexibility and gushing melodies can be distinct, but the lack of meaningful songwriting and emotional depth suggests he has more to offer. Børns musical footprint has been stamped firmly down, but this album doesn’t clinch it.