This is a truly unique record, and as such takes quite some explaining as this is the debut of this band, and there are not too many obvious benchmarks for their music.
One thing that has been lacking in this new wave of electropop has been a really defined sense of what each band is about. Whether a songs is about about space, the internet, globalisation or relationships, its always been from an objective standpoint, "This is the World as I see It". The Macondo approach puts this on its head, and each song talks about aspects of the writers' life, never really stretching much outside the boundaries of Essex, England. "This is my life".
The subject matter is a mixture of humour, wit, sadness, and disappointment. And all sung in a voice that's capable of expressing every one of these emotions. At the end of the record, you really feel you made a trip through a snapshot of someone's life, and feel you have learned something from the journey: - not some definitive answer to life, just something as simple as how one person feels.
When it comes to the music, the same paradox occurs: The production has a subtlety which is very rare, giving it a raw, synthetic sound, but with everything supporting the song and the main vocals. It's difficult to know what to compare it to, but I guess the closest bands would be White Town, Early Squeeze, or Dubstar. This is also a very English record, although its appeal should not be limited by the country of origin.
Going though a few high points of the album, we have the melancholy despair of "Something's got to Happen Soon", because it doesn't, first heard on WXJL, to "Saturday Boys" where we hear of youthful exploits and a fantastic attitude to being penniless and uncommitted. Backed with beats that are more electro than synthpop and beautifully subtle analogue sounding synths, these tracks unravel their story with a style and finesse not often seen in this genre of music.
The sad songs "Game Over" and "What if he doesn't Show" show a softer, more sober side, and genuinely are quite touching, with an almost Vince Clarke style backings playing against the vocal.
The songs "Local Boyz" with it vocoder and processed vocals, "Disappointed" with its shuffling breakbeat-esque backbone and "Live life to the Min" are poppier, and to be honest, just plain cool.
So all in all, pretty much a departure from what most people think the future of synthpop was going to be, no repetitive oontz, no huge reverbed vocals, and no trance baselines.
This is the kind of subtle, human recording that made "Women in Technology" by Whitetown and "Stars" by Dubstar such classics. I'm sure this wont be to everyone's taste, but that it's down to the records' unique leftfield nature, and after all it is better to split people down the middle rather than to half please everyone.
If you are a big fan of British electropop like Cosmetique, early Ladytron, Bis etc, this is a must have.
Artist Link: http://www.macondo.org.uk/