Satchmode - Love Hz
Satchmode ply their trade in the dream-pop arena with big bold hooks and a slick delivery. Highly influenced by the 80s, and many of their contemporaries for that matter, Love Hz is unabashed pop music. Lead singer Gabe Donnay's voice is breathy, very breathy, but it does add to the neon colored soundscape that the band are creating. You will instantly draw comparisons to Great Good Fine OK or St. Lucia, but that is more of a genre thing than some kind of rip off. "State of Mind" might as well be straight from '84, you can almost smell the Aquanet as the song progresses. While you would expect this path to feel dated and uninspired, yet somehow Satchmore pull it around and give us fun dancey songs that are filled with lyrics about heartbreak. You don't know if you should dance, cry or both. There are times when Satchmode seem to get too enamored with a line of music and they stick with it for to long. "Undertow" is nice, but it is so repetitive both lyrically and sonically that it eventually becomes a pain to get through especially at three and a half minutes. There is also a real lack of a low end th round out how high pitched Donnay's voice is and how neon bright the music is as well.
There are times however where that lack of some kind of bass really benefits them like on"Never Gonna Take You Back". The tracks without vocals are an odd choice for this kind of music. "A Picture of Two Lovers" and "The Smallest Things" feel like they are going for some kind of ambient magic, and they are pretty damn close, but on this album they stick out and feel odd. These tracks really interrupt whatever flow Satchmode had sunk into. The same case can be made for the stripped down of "In/Between"; just a haunting guitar slowly playing away in the background as Donnay sings softly and sweetly yet it simply does not fit on this record at all. The last two tracks are called "Happiness Pt. 1" and "Happiness Pt. 2" and in a word this part of the album is weird. Strings come in, there is an incredibly long intro and outro and it just feels totally odd. It leaves you with this sense that Satchmode have not yet found their sound, even though early tracks make it seem as if they have, and are stumbling around searching for it. Releasing Love Hz independently means the band has more freedom, but there is also a lack of another voice asking if the album really flows. There are some bright moments here, but the potential of Satchmode has really yet to be fully realized.
6.8 out of 10