Monday, October 22, 2018

Review of Reed and Caroline's "Hello Science"

I posted this review earlier this morning on the Sputnik Music website.

Review Summary: Future Bible Heroes meets Bill Nye the Science Guy

Reed & Caroline are Reed Hayes and Caroline Schutz. They're a New York-based electronic duo. Their sound is accessible enough -- delicate female vocals backed by synthesized instrumentation -- but they're a step or two to the left of pop. In fact, although they're proteges of Vince Clarke of the British electropop duo Erasure, their stint this past summer as the opening act for that band's "World Be Gone Tour" left many Erasure fans baffled. Eighties-based dancepop this is not. 

Hello Science is Reed & Caroline's second LP. It's a concept album centered around the worship of all things science. Hence, there are songs here about dark matter, buoyancy vs. gravity, computers and the Internet, oceanography, etc. (Actually, this seems to be a favorite theme as theirs, as half of the songs from their first release, 2016's Buchla and Singing, were also science-themed.)

The album is quite consistent throughout, and surprisingly good. Schutz's voice is pretty and precise, and Hayes' music is innovative, yet light. Once you get over your initial bewilderment at their Schoolhouse Rock! kind of approach, it's actually quite enjoyable. 

My favorite track on the LP is a little ditty called "Before". It might be the band's favorite track as well, since it's the only song that's featured on the album twice (in a regular version, and a Vince Clarke remix). It celebrates the notion that there's nothing really new in the universe -- "All the we are/And all that we adore/Is rearranged/From things that came before". OK, I can get behind that.

I'm interested to see just where this twosome goes from here. The whole science thing seems like a bit of a schtick, and I'm not sure it's sustainable beyond an album or two. Nevertheless, for me, Hello Science has been one of the more pleasing albums of the year.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars