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Is Tropical - I'm Leaving (Review)

Is Tropical, I'm Leaving

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

HAVING delivered something of a mixed bag with their debut album, Native To, Is Tropical return with a far more enjoyable sophomore effort in the form of I’m Leaving.

By their own admission, the time spent in between LPs had provided them with plenty of lessons, the most important of which was that 100mph craziness isn’t necessarily all you need to make a record.

Hence, I’m Leaving marks itself out as a distinct progression from its predecessor and benefits from the expert production values of seasoned pop pro Luke Smith (of Depeche Mode and Foals fame).

There is the occasional full-speed track such as Cry. But these are kept to a minimum and there’s a much greater appeal to the album’s best moments.

Primary among these is former single Dancing Anymore, which combines boy-girl vocals to seamless effect as well as a bittersweet vibe that flies in the face of the dreamy dance-pop vibe it gives off. It’s addictively catchy yet relatively simple in terms of delivery – a female vocal insisting “no I won’t”, before a male one laments: “Oh it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the floor.”

Leave The Party, too, has a winning vulnerability to it. The melodies are still cute, albeit couched in more melancholy, while the lyrics lament “I don’t want to leave the party, oh no, I just want to dance…” Perhaps it’s a nod to their own hedonistic experiences and the fact they’ve grown up but it’s endearing.

Sun Sun, meanwhile, is just a really giidy pop offering with chiming synth stabs, a funky electronic backdrop and one of the brightest choruses you’re likely to hear this summer (“sun sun, you’re the only one”). It’s tailor-made for singing along.

A little further down the line, All Night has a sort of ’80s electronic vibe that wouldn’t sound out of place on a College or Kavinsky LP, before hitting you with another delicious pop chorus, and Yellow Teeth rounds things off with a brooding, slow-burning number that manages to sound both atmospheric and celebratory at times.

If the unmentioned tracks don’t register as strongly, there’s more than enough on this sophomore effort to make Is Tropical worth placing on your radar. It’s a major step up from their debut and the sound of a band progressing very nicely indeed.

Download picks: Dancing Anymore, Sun Sun, Leave The Party, Yellow Teeth

Track listing:

  1. Lover’s Cave
  2. Dancing Anymore
  3. Lilith
  4. Leave The Party
  5. Cry
  6. Sun Sun
  7. Video
  8. All Night
  9. Toulouse
  10. Yellow Teeth