St. Lucia's Jean-Philip Grobler has been working out of a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on the band's debut full-length album When The Night, which dropped last week. The tropical electro-pop that is St. Lucia has made its marks as a band to watch for in this current, still growing age of synth pop. The album is full of 80s-inspired songs, using retro disco beats and synthesizers. All 11 tracks on When The Night flow together nicely, making it the perfect beach party soundtrack.
The opening track "The Night Comes Again" starts the album off with synth-driven verses, layered vocals and futuristic sounds, and makes this beach party feel like it should play at midnight on an island with a disco ball and neon lights. "The Way You Remember Me" increases the energy and prepares you for "Elevate," one of the album's catchiest songs. "Closer Than This," "Call Me Up" and "All Eyes On You" are all uplifting dance songs, while "We Got It Wrong" takes a dreamier tone and gloomy "September" builds into an brilliant breakthrough that's all driven by persistent bass.
When Grobler sat down with Baeble just a couple of weeks ago (read the full interview here), he mentioned Fleetwood Mac as a major influence for this album, recalling how their songs exist somewhere between joy and sadness, a quality Grobler hopes to capture in some of his own songs. "Too Close" may do just that, as it starts off bubbly and soon turns to something heavier with percussion and organ-like synths transforming the song over the course of seven minutes. As the climactic montage of the album, "Too Close" hits the most extreme highs and lows as it almost recaptures the emotion of all 11 tracks.
Grobler also told Baeble about how his music "gets you instantly but the more you listen to it, the more it reveals itself," and after listening to the album multiple times I have to agree. What seems like a pure 80s record is actually something more; Grobler's lyrics have meaning and weight behind them, such as in "Elevate" when he sings "There's no way to wake up now / Too many times I saw you cry / No one can make up / You wait for the sun to make the sky." The album closes with "When the Night," which reassures the listener that things are okay after the intensified "Too Close" and slowly brings us back down to earth. Although the album could have pushed a few more boundaries, it still sits nicely within the new era of synth pop and is nonetheless a great dance album.