Austin darlings Masonic have made a solid indie pop album
in Live Like A Millionaire. However, the act has received unprecedented
acclaim from local reviewers including phrases as extreme as "pop
masterpiece." With no exposure to their live performance or previous
LPs, based on Live Like A Millionaire, I don't think they're
deserving of such extravagant praise.
Don't get me wrong, the album is good. With catchy guitar riffs, cheerful
keyboard melodies, and poppy 1950s' style vocals, Masonic is very
charming. I found the vocals to be the weakest aspect of the album,
even distracting at points, but it is unclear whether that's a result
of stylistic choices or the production quality. There's an echo effect
on almost all the vocals that was probably intended to create an ethereal
atmosphere (very noticeable on "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye"),
but personally it seems like more of an attempt to mask a weak voice.
Instrumentals, like "Hanging From Fences", held up far stronger.
The musical arrangements are much more polished, making the vocals
seem even less strong by contrast.
Favorite tracks include the previously mentioned "Hanging From
Fences", the darker (comparatively) track "Posturing and
Freaks", and "Seems Like A Million Years" with its
catchy keyboard and bittersweet guitar melodies. Also "Let's
Do It All Again" most successfully utilizes lead singer Eryn
Gettys' sweet, retro vocals in a way that makes the song a dreamy
throwback that fuses the authenticity of the The Shirelles
with the modern retro twist of The Pipettes.
For indie pop fans, the album is worth a listen. If you like The
Reindeer Section, Band Of Horses, Ambulance Ltd.,
Ra Ra Riot, Album Leaf, or Metric, consider giving
Masonic a chance. They just might be right up your alley.
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