You can tell what this album’s going to sound like from the artwork. The clean, manic aesthetics of PC Music and GLOO are an obvious reference point, as are Grimes’ Art Angels and the kind of late-2000s stadium pop that now seems almost quaint.
The band treats these influences with PC Music’s lightness but without their pretension. Instead, they mostly trade in pop bangers about low-stakes drama. Opener ‘You Need A Dog’ attests to this: it’s not about the party to end all parties or meeting the love of your life. No, you got dumped, it sucks, and now “you need a fucking dog”. It’s high-sheen plastic pop as seen through a grey Tuesday hangover and a Greggs wrapper.
Silly, charming stuff like this is all over the record, from the Flash game chirps of ‘A Change of Heart’ through to chugging boss battle anthem ‘Fuck Dat Shit’. Where the album does go into more delicate subjects, it’s generally with sensitivity. Even in their deliberately tacky packaging, when ‘Baby’ and ‘Worth It’ talk about miscarriage and body image these issues resonate even if you’re not personally affected by the issues at hand.
That’s why it’s so jarring when you hit ‘Latin Lover’. In dialing the late-2000s influences up to eleven, Las Aves have replicated some of that time in pop’s nastier traits, and this track sees them swerve into weird and exoticising territory. It’s not as insensitive as it could have been, but the song makes for an uncomfortable listen nonetheless. It’s frustrating, because outside of this one track there are some real thrills on I’ll Never Give Up on Love Until I Can Put A Name On It. If you’re able to put that to one side – although not everyone will be – you’ll be rewarded with some great pop bombast, so long as you’re able to deal with the spike of salt in amongst all the sugar.