After their 2007 debut album, In the Midst of This, Expatriate seemed inescapable, but there has been a surprising lack of build up for their sophomore effort, Hyper/Hearts.
For an album five years in the making, it’s a bit of a disappointment – although containing a few highlights, its an all too samey album from a group who had a great electro-rock debut.
The album starts off promisingly with ‘Miracle Mile’, a restless and angst-driven post-punk track with an anthemic chorus perfect for an album as long in the making as this; it’s the best thing the band has ever recorded.
Elsewhere ‘Do You Remember’ is a track ripe for soundtracking television dramas, with The Cure-ish verses and a sing-along chorus that would make Coldplay jealous. The slow-burning Bruce Springsteen-inspired ‘It’s You’ is another highlight and demonstrates that the band might benefit from branching out more often.
Unfortunately, the album simply misses more than it hits. Although there is no singularly bad track, every song is less punchy and immediate than those previously mentioned – which mightn’t be a problem if the band weren’t obviously aiming for every song to be a great pop moment.
Expatriate are an extremely polished band who know exactly what type of music they want to create – which is great – unfortunately for now that clarity of vision has resulted in songs that sometimes come off as a bit too calculated.
All this isn’t to take away from what the band has achieved with Hyper/Hearts. The record is a logical extension of their debut, immaculately produced and seamlessly combining rock and electronic elements like few other bands at the moment. Hopefully, their next album will contain more memorable pop songs on equal footing with the highlights of this one.
– Wyatt Lawton-Masi