words by Michael Hutchinson

It’s as though the record company gave St. Lucia a license to thrill. The band – comprised of Jean-Philip Grobler, Patricia Beranek, Ross Clark, Nicky Paul and Dustin Kaufman – take leaps and bounds away from their far more subdued debut When The Night to deliver what could well be a career-defining sophomore record Matter.

There’s no equivalent of ‘Elevate’ – their brilliant single from When The Night – which is a good thing, because it would have been easy to follow that successful formula. It’s also a good thing because Matter doesn’t need to replicate that previous success with what they’ve churned out this time around. They certainly takes their sound to another level.

Opening with the subtle – compared to the rest of the record – ‘Do You Remember’, it channels Passion Pit at its most glorious. Lead single ‘Dancing On Glass’ provides the most mainstream moment, but surrounding it is a staple of 80’s vibes and the sweet stench of George Michael, Queen and Prince.

‘Physical’ was annoying at first and I almost didn’t give it a second chance, but the stuttered scream of “Phy-phy-si-ca-ca, phy-physical” gets easier to digest. It’s easily the bands most bombastic song to date. It was a big risk to release this as a single but it appears the gamble has paid off.

The pleasant ‘Game 4 U’ comes complete with a flute, as does ‘Love Somebody’ – a heartfelt love song entrenched in harmonies, body-swaying bass. ‘Winds Of Change’ is a brooding chant and ‘Rescue Me’ teases for a good 90 seconds before Grobler’s voice pops up.

Although a little throwaway, ‘Help Me Run Away’ dreamily channels Wham’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’, complete with visions of acid-wash denim coupled with white tees. I’d hedge a bet it’d teleport your boss back to thinking about simpler times. ‘Stay’ would mesh well with Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’, and the background falsetto reminiscent of Sting’s “I want my MTV” cameo on Dire Straits 1985 hit ‘Money For Nothing’.

Lead vocalist Jean-Philip Grobler contently takes us on a merry-go-round. His voice sounds infinitely stronger and more confident, but then again so does the bands’ sound and song-writing. The thing about St. Lucia is that they’re not afraid to build a song with a solid intro or outro. They appear to want to construct their craft in such a way that it will fill arenas and stadiums and Matter is the perfect stepping stone.

In a word: Catchy
Highlights: Do You Remember, Home, Rescue Me
For lovers of: Passion Pit, Penguin Prison, Atlas Genius

Rating: ★★★☆

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