German singer-songwriter Marius Lauber, aka Roosevelt, struggles to innovate on his sophomore album 'Young Romance', despite a truly lush display of synth-work and production. Lauber throws everything he’s got at the wall, and though the vintage synthesisers he holed away with stick, there’s plenty that doesn’t.
'Take Me Back' is a promising opener, with wall-to-wall, euphoric electronics. High Flying Birds vibes imbue the bones of this excellent introductory track, though any attempt to whittle that style down from inspiration into individuality falls short. In fact, Lauber’s vocal melodies seem to be the only element that don’t at least try at individuality.
Impeccable production widens his words to an expansive embrace, but the substance of them, both in melody and phrase, is shallow. True, Lauber’s knack with his computer and enviable collection of synths are excellent for making the everyday feel of a higher order; any task you complete with Roosevelt in your ears will suddenly become life-affirming, his sounds pulsating as if from within you.
Single 'Under The Sun' is better off for its head-nodding bassline, and highlight Pangea dazzles with a gorgeous, halting guitar stride, while slower number 'Better Days' has a slinky beauty, but many of these songs lose nuance at the hand of repetition and buzzwords, upon the arrival of vocal.
'Under The Sun' was made to soundtrack a music video of objectively attractive people dancing in slow-motion under a boiling sky, beside an aquamarine pool. And that’s fine, but it seems a waste to fritter such gorgeous instruments, and the dab hand using them, on cliché tropes and immovable vocal melodies.
‘Young Romance’ plumbs the depths of Lauber’s lost relationships, and plenty of the dappled synths do make for wistful listening, but it’s too easy to imagine that his youthful flushes of love took place by the sparkling swimming pools of a party resort. Sadly, this lack of innovation seriously dampens those moments of electronic beauty.
Words: Jess Atkinson
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