Comparisons are no one’s friend, but the feeling of listening to Roosevelt‘s singles reminds us of one we had years ago. They occupy a different space, but there’s a similar sense of sun-drenched euphoria between the Cologne-based synth-pop lad and the debut of Washed Out.
Of course, that they both have a luminous song called Belong makes that comparison all too real, but the calibre on this self-titled record can’t really muster the same. Synths ripple as Roosevelt takes on a full-confident charge over tracks like Fever, and the subdued club lounge vibe is alive and well on Moving On. The 80s homage lingers throughout – Heart just about treads the right side of that line – and there’s a reasonably youthful and sincere quality to the unstretched vocal performance Roosevelt offers.
But we feel like we’ve written those words about similar acts a hundred times, and where Ernest Greene took his wistful existential musings to longevity, Roosevelt never quite manages anything that transcends the immediate listen. The big breakouts are the singles Colours and Hold On – the former a mammoth dance-pop track that nails everything from melody to catchy chorus, the latter that takes a step back to involve a degree of understatement and fuzzy heart. For a man whose name evokes the presidential, these are the only moments that come properly close to that stature on an otherwise perfunctory album. Certainly enough for another term, then, but some more progressive policies wouldn’t hurt at all.