Release Date: Sep 30, 2014
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Synth Pop
There's some deep and intangible element of electronic dream pop that Electric Youth gets right. Maybe it comes from the lifelong romantic connection between Bronwyn Griffin and Austin Garrick, but rarely does an album have the otherworldly and intuitive vibe of an actual dream. Lots of artist bios use the word "otherworldly," but the 13 songs on Innerworld really do sound like they're coming from somewhere else.
Amid a glut of 1980s-indebted electro-pop, Toronto duo Electric Youth stand apart. Their glacial compositions offer far more than Empire Of The Sun’s empty gloss and M83’s breezy epics. Vintage-synth fetishist Austin Garrick and singer Bronwyn Griffin emerged in 2011 with ‘A Real Hero’, the dreamy waltz that soundtracked Ryan Gosling’s twilight cruising in Drive, and this debut album is inspired by films like David Cronenberg’s sci-fi horror Videodrome.
Some songs will forever be known as “The [Insert Film Title Here] Song”. Sometimes, even already extant classics are re-appropriated by directors, often a little too successfully. Can you ever hear “Unchained Melody” without seeing a spinning potter’s wheel and Patrick Swayze nibbling Demi Moore’s ear? Can you hear “Take My Breath Away” without thinking of a short man in a fighter pilot uniform? So, if you are an emerging band whose single gets used by the likes of Nicholas Winding Refn in Drive - one of the biggest movie soundtracks of the past five years - you can understand why you might wait a while before bringing out your debut LP.
So what do you want first, the good or bad news? M’kay. The bad news is there’s nothing on Electric Youth’s début album as good as “A Real Hero”. Although that’s not exactly a jawdropper shocker as it’s one of the most imperial pop treasures of recent memory. Originally graduating from College’s (AKA David Grellier) ‘80s inspired Valerie collective way back in 2009 as a word-of-mouth future classic, “Hero” received full honours and a 21-gun salute thanks to its use not once, but twice in Nicolas Winding Refn’s too-cool-for-skool movie Drive.
It's unusual to hear modern Italo Disco outside of the Italians Do It Better umbrella house, but apparently Canadians do it just as well. Electric Youth first caught our attention with "A Real Hero" on the Drive soundtrack, the icy, tone-setting track which practically served as the theme music for Ryan Gosling's character in Nicolas Winding Refn's 2011 film. Three years later and that song is present here on their debut album, and the remaining 11 cuts deliver on that same glossy, cinematic escapism.
The soundtrack to Drive captured a strain of 2010s synth pop that was sleek and cinematic, perfect for tracking scenes of rainy streets and violence. Electric Youth's collaboration with College on the song's anthemic centerpiece, "A Real Hero," was the standout track that made them a band to watch. Their long-awaited debut album, 2014's Innerworld, features that song, plus 11 more that sound like they could have been on the Drive soundtrack.