Published Sep 26, 2018Roosevelt's 2016 debut was a pleasant enough collection of bittersweet, '80s-hued love songs that marked the indie musician turned DJ/producer as one to watch. Young Romance, his second outing, sees the Cologne-based artist (born Marius Lauber) raising the bar throughout in terms of production and overall tightness, while adding some funk-lite guitar work for good measure as well.
There's some forgettable songwriting here, but the general polish, alongside a handful of great tracks, makes this a worthwhile option for fans of yearning synth-pop, and an obvious choice for fans of Lauber's debut.
The album makes a good first impression. "Under the Sun." with its Daft Punk trappings, and "Yr Love," which boasts a memorable bridge full of sparkling Tycho-style synth lines, are a couple of early highlights, and later high-level cuts "Losing Touch" and "Better Days" prove worthy as well, with the latter (a totally solid, almost John Mayer-esque ballad) featuring some cool multi-layered guitar and synth work reminding us of Lauber's pre-Roosevelt indie rock days.
But for all these hits, there are more than a few tracks that slide by without making an impression. While Lauber's work often transcends the sum of its competent if unremarkable parts, things can sound a bit rote and unimaginative when they don't, with predictable melodies, builds and transitions lining up with clockwork reliability. And while Lauber's affectless vocal delivery certainly fits the vibe he's going for, it lacks personality, making some of the lesser tracks seem especially lifeless. These are still slick and well-executed songs; just forgettable ones.
Which isn't exactly a crime if the highlights are worth waiting for, and they largely are here, with Lauber saving the particularly excellent "Getaway" for the very end. A melodic slow-burner that sounds like a long lost Postal Service song, its strategic placement finishes the album on a high note, but makes one hungry for more like it. (City Slang)