Electropop just got the strength that it’s been missing for a while.
DJ-turned-electronic majesty Krychek has dropped his debut album, the self-titled and phenomenal Krychek. But far from a typical electropop/electrorock venture, it’s an album that stands at odds with popular themes of the genre.
The main point of this would be the high-note vocal emphasis that has become strangely prominent in the electropop genre. High vocals have become all the rage, from dance track guest vocalists to acts like Chvrches employing them against a swirling backdrop of synths. Then there’s Krychek, whose vocals are soothingly deep and don’t attempt to follow the high-note herd.
And surprise, surprise: it works really well.
What this goes to show is that Krychek is a talent. Every track on his debut is perfectly crafted and hypnotically addictive, and it manages this without following hugely popularised techniques. It even refuses the soft sheen of typical electropop production and takes a grittier stance, feeling a lot like Nine Inch Nails making a pass at the genre.
From the intense percussive crashings of opening track Heist to the darkpop anthem that is Lesson Burned (which even Krychek recognises as arguably the album’s most immediately radio-friendly track, as two – also great – remixes lurk at the end of the track listing), this is something different. This is the undisputed strength that has been missing from electropop for some time, evident in the evolution of intensity that is Forever Young. Krychek is all about intensity, strength and determination, carried by gritty and semi-industrial instruments.
But to pin this as just a strong take at electropop would be to discredit it and do a disservice to Krychek. He ventures outside of the camp as much as is artistically viable without harming the flow of the release. Second track Hampton Road is a blistering indie-enfused rock track that only in retrospect is strikingly different – placed as the second track, no listener could identify the contrast on first listen. As the album closes with the gentler half-ballad that is Moments In Time, it feels like the natural collapse into silence. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
With little foreshadowing, Krychek’s debut stands without argument as one of the best albums a new artist released in 2015. If you’re still stuck for a new year’s resolution, giving this LP the attention and respect it truly deserves is definitely a worthwhile one.