Retro pop and modern indie collide like colours on a splatter canvas in Dappled Cities‘ sublime new LP Five (stylised as ‘|||||’).
The Sydney collective’s fifth studio effort has its head unapologetically in the clouds for much of its 11-track expanse, buoyed there by ethereal, verby melodies and whimsical lyrics that drift dreamily up in the heavens on drowsy chillers like ‘In Light Of No One’ and ‘Weightless’.
The record also has moments where it touches back down to earth, like on the rollicking up-tempo ‘Coraline’ or the drunken-synth-laced swing of ‘What Is Impossible’, which keeps the ride interesting without derailing the disc’s overall vibe.
Dappled Cities have gone bold for their fifth record, serving us up a tasting board of 11 lush indie hymns each with its own unique flavour, from the upbeat disco chill of ‘That Sound’ to the moody dance grooves of ‘Everything Ever’ to the earthy horn dollops of ‘Stone Men’ and the 80’s Bowie-esque funk of ‘Spacechild’.
It strikes that divine balance between songs that have their own character, and songs that don’t detract from the character of the whole. And as a whole, this record is like a warm winter’s blanket with a side of piping hot cocoa.
It harks of the UK-style melancholy and aching nostalgia of bands like Digitalism or Peter, Bjorn & John but with even richer sonic tapestries that borrow from across the genres and from across the generations, from 60’s psych to 70’s disco to 80’s new wave to 90’s art rock to modern indie-pop and EDM.
Five gets five out of five.