- The Whip at the Academy 3
The Whip straddle the electronic
ock divide with a wider stance than most of their late-00s hipster-dance contemporaries. Their debut may be titled X Marks Destination, but their stylistic aim isn't as deadly focused as that might suggest: targets veer across the map from the romantically epic pop of "Sirens," with its a rose-tinted, Hollywood-ready sheen, to the gritty, instrumental electro of breakout single "Divebomb," which layers hypnotically swirling synth bleeps with overdriven, Justice-style guitars to fashion an effectively frothy if vaguely perfunctory banger. The bulk of the album falls somewhere in between these poles, lashing feverish, fizzy electronic workouts to guitars-forward, quasi-punkish pop slabs that try, mostly successfully, to have it both ways. These work best when the melodies are upfront and gleaming, as on "Sister Siam" and the swooning, unflinchingly New Order-ish "Frustration." They suffer significantly when the obnoxiously inane lyrics become too prominent, particularly on the execrable "Save My Soul," or whenever the band latches on to empty, ad nauseum catch phrases like "lights down in the dark" or "I can feel the heat" or "I wanna be trash" (a curiously dated, "Loser"-like grunge-era sentiment, albeit married to a pummeling post-post-punk stomp.) And otherwise they tend to fade into indistinct, lackluster neutrality. Still, even if their would-be blazes burn with a reflected fire and a somewhat mannered, over-familiar hand-me-down hedonism, the Whip are at least competent synthesists of simple pleasures, with an unexpected sweet tooth and enough vitality to offer the blog-house constituency some A-grade kindling for late-decade dancefloors.
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