Two Bright Lakes WHAT we have here is an original and compelling take on pop music viewed through the lenses of electronica, R&B and hip-hop. Duo Collarbones — Adelaide-based Travis Cook, and Sydney local Marcus Whale — don’t care much for genre constraints. It’s the best thing they’ve got going for them. Musical innovation is truly rare; there’s no one in Australia writing material like this. Their point of difference is technology-enabled: each track is built on intricate collages of instrumental samples cut, copied and pasted on laptops. Whale’s voice, by turns soulful and ethereal, narrates these stark soundscapes. It’s a concept album, of sorts: the lyrics focus on adolescent love and fallen pop idols. The title track is a fine example of the unconventional Collarbones songwriting style: over a lazy backbeat, what sounds like stringed instruments are sped up, slowed down and mashed together to beguiling effect. A verbose verse by Melburnian rapper HTML Flowers contrasts well against Whale’s clear voice. The following track, Too Much, is backed by Cook’s booming, bass-heavy beat; Whale unironically embraces a big, melodic, 1990s-era boy band-style chorus. It could easily be a radio hit. The approach would be a gimmick if the songs weren’t so good. The duo’s debut album, last year’s Iconography, was an intriguing introduction but an unsatisfying collection in whole: too many half-sketched ideas, too few proper songs. Die Young is a fully realised follow-up, one that sees the pair living up to their potential. It may be one of the stranger pop albums you’ll hear this year, but you won’t regret your time spent with these 10 fine tracks.