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The Bynars - X vs. X (Review)

The Bynars, X Vs X

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

BOSTON double act The Bynars – aka Matt Jatkola and Mike Champ – have delivered one of the more interesting synth-pop albums of the moment with new release X vs X.

Working with Grammy award-winning engineer Adam Taylor (Portugal. The Man, Bodega Girls, Cave In), Anthony Saffery (Cornershop) and Abe Seiferth (Yeasayer), they’ve crafted an album that is easy to dance to, but which also draws on extreme polarities: love vs. hate, dream vs. reality, or happy vs. sad and all the intricacies that lie therein.

Or, as Jatkola puts it: “It encompasses a personal worldview we have, which is based on the idea of ‘everything is everything.”

Most notable, however, is the way the album successfully manages to merge these big lyrical ideas with edgy guitars and heavy electronics that are inherently danceable. You should have a good time tuning in.

Take, for instance, the euphoric Never Gonna Die, which hits you with some exhilarating synth arrangements and a chorus that is resolutely anthemic, or Dancing On A Dream, which fuses catchy dance-pop with the sort of ’80s sugar rush that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a John Hughes Brat Pack movie.

Evidence of their diversity is found in the darker, edgier, quasi-rapper Tired Of Hooking Up With You (featuring ATM), which drops a late-night vibe and some addictive beats (as well as a great chorus), and Everyone Is Here, which has a celebratory romanticism about it as well as a sharp mix of rock and electronica (think Weezer meets Passion Pit). You could even call it the cigarette lighter moment… and another soundtrack wannabe.

I’ll Get You Back, on the other hand, is a riot of energy with sharp guitar riffs colliding with kick-ass drums to deliver a giddy head-rush moment, while Blow even ventures into self-consciously Prince-like territory.

Ironically, the only two moments that fail to deliver are the gargantuan All I Wnna Do Is Have Some Fun Tonight, which starts out as fun as it sounds, but then over-indulges and outstays its welcome (it’s over nine minutes in length), and album closer Give It To Me, which unfolds at mid-tempo pace and kind of underwhelms as a finale.

But in all other respects, X vs X delivers the goods and is an immensely fun listen.

Listen to Dancing On A Dream:

Listen to Never Gonna Die:

Download picks: Tired Of Hooking Up With You, Everyone Is Here, I’ll Get Your Back

Track listing:

  1. Dancing on a Dream
  2. Tired of Hooking Up with You (feat. ATM)
  3. All I Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun Tonight
  4. I’ll Get You Back
  5. Everyone Is Here
  6. Never Gonna Die
  7. Blow
  8. Give It to Me