Ready Never releases Eleutherophobia

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Electropop is a genre that first gained presence in the 80’s, with groups like Kraftwerk and KMFDM becoming innovators and disseminators of the style: the fun, upbeat sound with pop-esque vocals.

From Ready Never Facebook page
From Ready Never Facebook page

Ready Never is a bit different. They’ve obviously been influenced by both modern house music and indie rock and strike me as a more dance-oriented take on the indietronica sound that artists like Miike Snow, who combine similar elements of dance music with indie-pop vocals and themes, have cultivated over the last half decade. They also seem to take some cues from early 2000’s house/synthpop like Daft Punk and Eiffel 65, utilizing slightly slower beats than most house music.

However, despite the lower BPM, most of Ready Never’s tracks still manage to convey a positive, upbeat energy that is just as infectious as most pop music. Their sound is happy-go-lucky at its lightest; nothing is serious, everything is to be taken lightly. Hell, they have a song called “Casualties” on their new album, Eleutherophobia, and it’s one of the silliest tracks on the album.

“Tell Me” follows and is one of the more involving tracks on the new release. The auto-tuned vocals are cheesy but catchy; it’s a great funky tune to blare with the top down.

The title track is next: “Eleutherophobia” starts with a steady beat and electro effects that are reminiscent of early 2000’s electro-jam band The New Deal. It’s got a slightly euphoric, highly ambient sound that really gives a feel for Ready Never’s particular take on electronic. There are no vocals here; it’s a very easy listen, good music to work to; I can hear it being played in modern hipster coffee shops after the lunch rush.

It leads into “Victim of Vice,” which features some dubstep-style effects and heavier bass; an evolved, more complex version of the same sound portrayed in the title track. This is, in my opinion, the best track on the album from a musical standpoint: it’s fairly complex, with plenty of effects, and a consistent progression throughout the track.

“Be My Lover” swings the album back into its Indietronica roots, with a steady, repetitive beat and the same auto-tuned vocals featured in other tracks. It shifts more towards the popular style: house anthem mixed with indie vocals and harmonies. We get to hear the guitar work a bit more in this track, which I’m a fan of; if you’ve read my other reviews, you’ll know that I like nothing better than synthesized tunes with a bit of crunchy electric guitar thrown into the mix.

From Ready Never Facebook page
From Ready Never Facebook page

This track actually reminds me a bit of another band I reviewed recently, the Monks of Mellonwah. Both feature an indietronica sound leaning towards pop-style use of vocals. Ready Never utilizes a drum machine instead of a live drummer, which takes away from the dynamism of the sound, but the themes and style are definitely similar, with Ready Never focusing more on maintaining positive, upbeat energy, in contrast to the Monks’ more melodramatic tenor.

“Future Retro” is next and it lives up to its name by incorporating a bit heavier emphasis on the 80’s/90’s style Midi effects. It’s a fast-paced track, feeling a bit speedier and more dexterous than the majority of the album. It is on the short side, leading into “Me, Myself, and I,” which is clearly one of the focus tracks on the album. It uses some of the same midi effects, but also brings in a bit more complex synthesizer work and a more prominent beat.

The auto-tune vocals are back and they fit really well here: this is another step towards a sillier, more effect-driven house-y style and it’s admittedly pretty catchy. I really like the subtle xylophone-esque effects that litter the background for most of the track. The lyrics are pretty poppy, with a bit of Spanish thrown in for flavor, and it works. This feels like something you’d hear at an outdoor Spring Break dance party.

“My Eye Know Might” features moodier lyrics, but with the happy-go-lucky indie-house ambience, it almost comes across sarcastically. The song is about trying to “Get my life together!” and it’s a really fun, silly track. The overtones of self-pity in the lyrics are completely offset by the comedic tone of the track, and in the end, you really just want to laugh and dance around.

It’s also the most euphoric track on the album when it breaks right around 2:00. I can totally hear this as a late-night drunk track at a hipster or college party; it’s a lot of fun, with a surprisingly potent build later on in the track, a great drop following it and an overall happy, self-mocking tone that really is just pure fun.

“Assistant Press Play” is last and rounds out the album with a good wrap-up showcase of all of Ready Never’s musical and thematic elements. It has a heavier beat, quaint midi synths and an overall fun tone with a hint of self-mockery. After all, who doesn’t want an assistant? But … are we really that busy? No, just that lazy.

From Ready Never website
From Ready Never website

These guys are a bit lazy, too. The sound is fun, but I feel like they could take it further. I am impressed, make no mistake; the combination of indie-pop, house, and midi keys is a great idea, but it also can’t help but sound a bit generic. The sound is right for the time, but they need to take it a step further if they want to go big. Right now it’s just what the indie kids want, but is it what they need? I hope Ready Never learns a lesson or two from the Mike Snows and brings a bit more diversity to their sound to maintain the momentum of this genre.

It could do with a bit of Animal Collective; the sound is supposed to be simple, I get it, and it has a lot of promise, but if they can take what they’ve built and bring it to the next level for critical listeners and those getting a bit weary of midi anthems, it will really be music worth buying.