Cry me a river
WHAT would songwriters do without break-ups to draw inspiration from?
For Pnau’s fourth album, Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes dug deep into Littlemore’s personal life to come up with an album that’s heavy on the heartbreak but often presented in an infectious, euphoric, urgent, popfriendly style.
There is a rush of songs at the album’s beginning that lean on a similar writing style, a quiet verse followed by a louder chorus. It’s an age-old technique that guarantees results every time.
What’s great about a tune like Everybody is the way the guys blend cosmic synth melodies and insistent beat into the mix with a sad story and a butt-kicking, memorable chorus.
Solid Ground is a guitar-pop song that also benefits from this tension and release format.
Littlemore’s defiant lyrics are the icing on the cake: ‘‘. . . there’s too much worth living for’’.
On Twist of Fate it is the way he sings that’s more impressive than the words themselves. His delivery is stabbing, insistent and extremely catchy.
If any song here feels like a hit single it is The Truth, a good old-fashioned tale of heartbreak.
Glimpse stands out because it is different to every other song on the album. This modern electronic pop ballad hits hard and ( perhaps strangely) is reminiscent of the powerful drums in Phil Collins’ classic In The Air Tonight.
Solid from front to back, there’s plenty to like throughout the whole album.
Unite Us has a cool bell melody; Better Way is propelled by machine gun percussion; Something Special thrives on bouncy analogue synths; and Epic Fail has rocking tribal drums and an all-toorare whistling melody plus enough electro bass to win over a festival crowd.
Waiting For You is the album’s most aching and delicate song with its mournful horns and an emotional swell of strings.
Littlemore softly croons lines such as ‘‘ I will never leave you’’ and it sounds like the gospel truth.
Although there’s plenty of songs to dance to, this album is a step away from nightclubs towards more traditional songwriting structures.
Soft Universe is more focused on proper songs than ever before; these tunes have almost nothing in common with mindless clubs track such as Wild Strawberries.
From smashing the charts as Empire of the Sun to composing for Cirque du Soleil to this album’s bold creative leaps – these Elton John-approved Aussies are on some kind of hot streak.