Release Date: May 28, 2013
Record label: Kitsuné
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic
On their early singles and debut album Native To, Is Tropical made a name for themselves as one of the fizzy electro-pop-rock bands that seemed to dominate the late 2000s and early 2010s. While they don't entirely abandon that sound on their second album, I'm Leaving, the trio opts for a rougher edge that sets them apart from the multitude of bands pursuing a similar style (several of which are also on the Kitsuné label). The grinding guitar riff that begins album opener "Lover's Cave" tips off listeners that Is Tropical are going for something a little different here; even though their familiar sparkly synths eventually join the throng, that sound and feeling extend to the rest of I'm Leaving.
London trio Is Tropical suffer from what might be called ‘OK Go Syndrome’, whereby a musical act’s video content attracts exponentially more praise than the same act’s audio content. The video in question soundtracked Is Tropical’s 2011 single The Greeks and it is, in fairness, one of the greatest music videos of all time. Directed by innovative French outfit Megaforce, it featured gun-toting children and combined animation and live action like a demonic version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? To date, it’s received over 3.5 million YouTube views.
There is a sunny splendour that vaporises amidst ‘I’m Leaving’ and emanates, like a sonic steam bath, throughout, inherent within the record’s surprisingly catchy hooks and choruses. In the likes of ‘Dancing Anymore’ and ‘Toulouse’, inescapably captivating riffs and vocal runs take centre stage, bounding along with a grinning gaiety. But what is vital here, from the perspective of a listener, is a freewheeling sense of fun,wrapped up in a relaxed sense of humour, taking the snippets of synth glitch frenzy alongside the punch of pummelling indie rock riffs without reeling backwards in horror.