Diver Diver


Lemonade LemonadeDiver

7.1 / 10

With “Diver”, Lemonade embarked on a project similar to that of label mates Tanlines, “Mixed Emotions”; they took a turn towards pop. In their case, they went from the tropical rave sounds of the magnificent “Lemonade” to more sensitive and brightly-textured material. Although their tracks have always had a certain pop spirit, they're now openly and officially embracing the sound. Which means: concise songs, much more focused structures and a bigger role for the lyrics. A style change that changes the whole band. Where, before, hedonism, sweat, and expansion ruled, we now find reflection, logic and cleanliness.

This change isn't gratuitous, nor is it all too radical; the signs were already there on “Pure Moods”, the EP they released in 2010, in hindsight a clear signal a transition was going on. It held some of the keys to explain the evolution that culminated in this album. On songs like “Lifted”, Callan Clendenin's voice gained some major importance, vocalising much more precise melodies, whereas before he used to sing disperse mantras, lost between the amalgamations of synths and samples. On “Diver”, Clendenin's confidence, both vocally and lyrically, has grown. It’s something that becomes clear right from the start, on “Infinite Style” and “Neptune”, where he sings about secrets, doubts, and existential conflicts, marking the introspective tone of the rest of the album.

The lyrics about urban disillusionment and complicated romances are embedded in a luxurious sound, produced by a band whose confidence in their own possibilities has increased as well. While, before, the weight was carried by intricate sample puzzles and chaotic percussion, now we hear some perfectly outlined melodies, rich in details and appropriate arrangements. Though the sound is more elegant now, the heart of the songs is still very much indebted to dance music - whether it's the exciting chords of “Ice Water”, the pianos and vocal manipulations of “Eye Drops”, or the thick bass lines and syncopated rhythms of the “Sinead” / “Sister” tandem. Elements that don't hide their retro fixation - from 80s synth-pop to Balearic house and the brightest form of rave and early UK garage - but, with their tropical arrangements, maintain Lemonade's intricate personality. This is particularly apparent in the sparkling melodies of “Vivid” and the aforementioned “Sinead”. A special mention for the final tracks on the LP, where they break the restrain and go straight for the dance floor (especially on “Big Chances”) – revealing that, deep down, the band haven't changed that much at all. They still embrace hedonism, but instead of presenting it in its most primitive form, they also know how to highlight its more bittersweet aspects.

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