By all counts, we should sneer at Sean Nicholas Savage. This is lo-fi pop’s most overt hipster, all kitschy sleeves over faux-twee bedroom tinkering. Even the cover of his new album Other Death has a garish scheme, a deadpan look, and written verse so oblique it might as well be a meme. So fashion. Much wow.
We normally can’t stand stuff like that – we’ve had enough of PC Music, and Ariel Pink is just about pushing it – but when Death and Propaganda kick off this album, there’s something surprisingly sincere about it all. The former a twirling piano ballad, like opening the music box of Savage’s brain, and the latter a firm Perfume Genius-like statement wrapped in yearning. “I’m a freak,” he sings. Well, aren’t we all, but this in particular is hella endearing.
The rest of the album? Quite a joy, actually. Dont B Sad – produced by our darling TOPS – is lo-fi alt-funk, twinkling like a 70s San Diego cityscape. Even when the beats are deliberately low-rent, like Promises, Savage still makes his very particular brand of pop (if you can call it that) impossible to turn away from – Suburban Nights makes the most of his endearingly inconsistent falsetto, SOS is one of many twinkly late-night gems. Loathe as we are to say it, then, Other Death is very much an album from which to get your life.
Other Death by Sean Nicholas Savage can be ordered here.