Avec Sans - Heartbreak Hi
Avec Sans have that really great sound of 80s inspired electropop paired with stellar dreamy female vocals. They have gotten some play since 2012 and many of those songs have found their way on this debut album Heartbreak Hi. What they do extremely well however is taking an average pop song, throwing it in an electronic blender and coming out with something moody, a bit dark but also bright enough to sing along with. Pretty awesome stuff for a debut record. The London based duo instead of taking the normal pop posture of singing a bunch of love songs have grounded this record in heartbreak and those emotions that come on the other side of love lost. There are distinct CHRVCHES and Paperwhite vibes going on here, but they are not quite as bold as CHVRCHES nor as straight up poppy as Paperwhite, they really have carved a space all their own. Avec Sans bring you from emotion to emotion and really drive the point home every single time. Vocalist Alice Fox arrives at heartbreak not with dread and anxiety, but more with a benign indifference like she has been here before and fully expects to be here again. It isn't the kind of sentiment we usually want in our pop songs, but it works so damn well here and is a feeling that almost everyone can relate to in one way or another.
Avec Sans have garnered a following the UK and Europe, but have yet to really break in a big way in the states. The play of Fox's sweet voice and the heavy electronic sound gives the record this dual nature that is totally infatuating. The maturity of the lyrics is also one of this albums strongest attributes, They also never get overly aggressive with the effects, letting the story of the record more or less unfold on it's own unobstructed. "All of Time" has this great aggressive beat, but it also runs almost five minutes which is just to damn long for a pop song. There is also not a great deal of variety on the album which at 13 tracks is probably just a little too much music. The buzz that is included throughout the album adds this really excellent sound to the record that you don't often hear in electropop. Heartbreak Hi is a wonderful exploration of electropop and shows that it is a genre that doesn't have to be just one thing, but can branch into many different and exciting sounds without falling fully back on making a dance record. Avec Sans are setting themselves up to be one of the big names in electropop and that is saying something in a field as crowded as this one is. In the end Heartbreak Hi is what it looks like when a genre evolves and grows, we can only speculate where they are going to go next.
8.0 out of 10