Moths are annoying. This is an irrefutable fact. They flit around unpredictably, they flap in your face with no shame, they chew through all things held familiar, and you’re constantly trying to predict their next move. In that respect, Chairlift‘s Moth is pretty damn appropriately named. Except for the annoying part.
If their previous work was somewhat reserved (you won’t find a Cool As A Fire moment here, though Unfinished Business comes close), then this latest record bursts out with zero fucks given. There are insect chirps on Look Up, a yelp and an operatic moment on Polymorphing – arguably more successful than the entire Ramona Lisa album put together – and a general sense that the duo are finally having some fun with their sound. Clearly Caroline Polachek’s time writing with Beyonce has paid off.
It’s crystallised really quite wonderfully with the middle triumvirate. Romeo, Ch-Ching, and Crying In Public will arguably stand up as some of the best pop songs of the year, elastic and kinetic and flouting of all pop norms while keeping radio singalong charm. It’s a tough act to pull off, especially for that last one which openly wears its vulnerability on its sleeve (“Tell me what kind of monster have I been today?”, sings a self-aware Polachek before saying “sorry I’m causing a scene on the train”).
In an interview recently, Chairlift said that this was their New York record. In some ways they’re not wrong; listening to Moth runs the gamut of emotions one feels in any big city, from the initial wonder to settled joy, the charm of discovering it with someone and the sense of isolation when it all disappears. A lot of that also rests on Polachek’s cut-loose vocals, carefree and an absolute powerhouse on Show U Off, which quite easily sums up why Moth is the first essential record of 2016: it flutters, it floats, it’s speedy enough to be everywhere, and it ends up higher than any of us could ever hope to reach. Buy this now.