Words by Nadia Dar

Jack Antonoff is back with yet another project, and this time it’s with synth-pop producer Vince Clarke. Strange Desire is the new album from Bleachers and it is what I can only describe as the soundtrack to every 80’s high school movie – which is not necessarily a bad thing.

The perfect mixture of drama and fun is told in such a direct way that it becomes almost youthful. It sort of feels like you’re 16 again, only with a lot more reverb this time.

The record starts with ‘Wild Heart’, which right away introduces this huge, booming, anthemic sound that carries out through the entire album. The song itself is a little slow to start, but it makes up for it with a triumphant chorus that is more than likely influenced by Antonoff’s other band, fun.

One thing I found particularly note-worthy was the pace of Strange Desire. It picked up early and stayed upbeat, which made it a lot easier to listen to and ultimately just way more entertaining. ‘Rollercoaster’ is probably the first one to make it onto my playlist for that exact reason. It’s playful, innocent and probably the ideal song for any summer road trip.

The record’s first single, ‘I Wanna Get Better’ is an essential to listen to – it’s pretty much the epitome of reckless fun, and if the chorus doesn’t make you want to scream the lyrics at the top of your lungs, then I don’t know what will.

Probably one of the most interesting tracks is ‘Reckless Love’, which, although a little calmer, is a great example of Jack Antonoff’s vocal range. Throughout the rest of the album his voice had a very distinct sound, but here it almost sounds like he’s channeling his inner Matt Berninger. It’s a very smooth sounding transition and I find it almost remarkable how well he manages to keep that kind of flow when making such a drastic change. Kudos, Antonoff, kudos.

From songwriter, to lead guitarist, to frontman to producing an album with Vince Clarke, it seems like Jack Antonoff has created quite the resume for himself. Who knows what will be next on his agenda but if it’s more music, I for one will not be complaining.

“Strange Desire”
© July 15th, 2014



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