19 April 2019 (released)
09 May 2019
Armed with pulsing arpeggiators, snappy 70s funk strats and vocals ironed to silky smoothness with vocoder, Houston indie-electro outfit Voyce Memos have crafted a broad, welcoming offering with their latest album Catching Me in Stride. The production trio has found their sweet spot with a sound that is a direct descendant from Daft Punk's laid-back 2013 album, the Nile Rodgers-produced Random Access Memories and fits right in next to Tame Impala's less guitar-heavy fare. The tone is one of calm reflection, like a midnight cruise with the neon lights of the city reflecting off the rain-soaked streets. Looking back on adversity but having the get-up and go to boogie out of it.
The album kicks off with the lead single 'Division', finding its vibe with airy “nightclub on the moon” synths and tight, chiming, nouveau disco guitars. The vocals come on with a euro-techno sheen a million miles away from their native Texas. The vocal syncopation in the verses does come off somewhat laboured compared to the rest of the album where the lines all fit nicely hand in glove. By the chorus, they tuck nicely back into the slick groove. Unhurried arpeggiators give a twinkle to the night scene set by the dreamy track.
The Memos find their rock n roll on 'Better Island'. A garbled guitar and whistles lead the track off to a sauntering, stop-start beat which swells to an alarming climax before rolling back like a retreating wave. 'Benova' lightens the mood with a snappy instrumental bossa nova number for the summer sailing evenings. Airy verbed-out horns echo out into the night while the band keeps a tight beat.
The title track embodies the cool, laid-back ethos of the record, applying the vibe to an “I want you, I need you” theme. Delayed guitars and shakers move with an implied shimmy. The thick vocoder clings to the vocals like a dense syrup. 'Lazy Radio' pulls out of the euro pop influence to give us a jangly Spoon-like indie rock number. A spacey mid-song breakdown pulls us out of the steady saunter to gaze up at the sky for a moment of reflective transcendence. 'Wake With Me' adds some late album tenderness with a fingerpicked guitar guiding this lazy morning instrumental.
Voyce Memos have managed to weave together a cohesive record from a very diverse palette. Never relying on one single style or group of instruments to define their sound. Analog instruments integrate seamlessly with the digital. It's only when examining closely, such as writing a review that you realize that they're drawing from such a wide range of sounds cause with casual listens, the album feels utterly natural.