Album Review: St. Lucia's 'Matter' can't compete with the 80s

By Jake Valentine

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St. Lucia is the brainchild of Jean-Philip Grobler, a South-African native turned Brooklyn-based indie musician. His second album, “Matter,” an eclectic, synth-heavy record was recently released on January 29th. SO

Tracks on St. Lucia’s latest effort are either hit or miss. The record opens up with the stellar pop song “Do You Remember,” a track that intrigues listeners through its sharp melodies and great production. It’s obvious that a tremendous amount of work was put into this record, as a plethora of different instruments are used throughout. Grobler layers one upon the other in each song. 

This technique works well on multiple tracks, such as “The Winds of Change” and “Do You Remember,” but is overwhelming on other songs. The best example of this can be found on the track “Physical,” a five-minute song with a hook so annoying I took my headphones out of my ear three minutes into it. “Physical” is the worst track on this album by far, as it starts off with an irritating hook that you think you’ll see the last of when it first ends, but no; it reappears over and over again and just doesn’t go away. This hook paired with the nearly as annoying chorus makes “Physical” quite possibly one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard.

Luckily, “Physical” is followed by the best track on the record “Game 4 U,” a catchy, hard-hitting love song with a synth line that chugs along like a train. Grobler tugs at audiences’ heartstrings with the lyrics “Because it’s true, I only play this game for you/I always knew, my heart is just a chain for you.” These lyrics are complemented by the subtle sound of a wind flute, which serves as the perfect touch to the best chorus of the album. 

The rest of the record carries on in a rather dull manner, nothing really catches your ear in the latter half of the album, as St. Lucia’s ’80s inspired sound feels recycled after the first six tracks. The record only has one slow track, which is “Love Somebody,” a love ballad that finds Grobler longing for someone to love as he exclaims “Go find me somebody, go find somebody to love.” These lyrics are accompanied by a steady and smooth synth line, along with a nice bass drum and finger snaps. “Love Somebody” is your classic ’80s pop ballad, and it fits perfectly on any slow jams playlist.

The record finally wraps up with “Always,” a seemingly right way to end the album. With it’s atmospheric chorus and Patricia Beranek’s beautiful vocals, “Always” closes the record out on a high note. 

While what St. Lucia has done with “Matter” is nothing new or extraordinary, it still is a prime example of current bands referring back to the ’80s pop era for influence. There are many bands out there that have the same style of St. Lucia but do it better (Passion Pit, Atlas Genius, and Geographer). Overall, “Matter” is nothing special, just a decent indie pop record with catchy choruses and synthesizer overkill. 

Rating: 6.5/10

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