What’s the line between feelgood and cheesy? It can occasionally be a hard one to judge on St. Lucia‘s new album Matter. Jean-Philip Grobler does, after all, take so much inspiration from decades past that sometimes his brand of synth-driven power-pop doesn’t feel a million miles away from what you might hear on Magic FM’s daytime rotation.
That’s definitely been the case on Help Me Run Away, as well as opening track Do You Remember. But that line we worry about is drawn pretty resolutely – where cheesy might make us cringe to high heaven, Grobler and co lift us there purely on the strength of their own exuberant joy.
That unwavering ecstasy is present on the chorus of Home. It’s in the spiky synths of Dancing On Glass. It’s on the siren-whoops of Physical, and it’s even in the quiet hopefulness of their closest thing to a ballad, Love Somebody. In a world where the heartbroken sing their way to commercial success, being able to sell happiness so persuasively is no mean achievement at all.
And that’s where St. Lucia conquer any dismissive stance on their art – sure, it’s pop at its most bombastic (Winds of Change errs dangerously close to that line of cheese ignored by the likes of Empire of the Sun), but the intention of Matter is hard to falter. It’s loud, it’s unapologetically chipper, and it might actually leave you exhausted from both smiling and dancing, no matter what your vibe.