Opener ‘Bring Your Dolphin’ is a mildly surreal and melancholy pop song about dolphins, romance and world-weariness, yet the band insist it contains a death penalty reference - so beneath it’s lush ambiences lurks darkness and in violent disintegration lies beautiful fun. Lead single ‘Pea Shore’ contains an extended love poem to Mark E. Smith and the wonders of modern cosmetics. ‘I Am The Emotion’ takes to heart The Chap’s early mission statement of seeking to create music that “sounds wrong” and is a kind of wordy world-techno-pop anthem about emotional emancipation, sungby grandad after he just discovered autotune. Classic Chap! as are the nightmare disco anthems like ’Merch’, ’I Recommend You Do The Same’ or ’Toothless Fuckface’.
Elsewhere, the algorhithm shows a more conciliatory side: ”Help mother/ with her stuff”, it implores on ’Help Mother’ and it truly nails existential futility on ’Hard’. Closing track ‘Don’t Say It Like That’, repeating its title phrase over and over while a techno beat pounds and easy synth arpeggios dissolve into sad ambience, could be viewed from different perspectives: a couple arguing, a parent reprimanding a child, a social media comment on hate speech. It’s impossible not to get sucked into ’Digital Technology’. Like its title, it sounds and feels like an outdated promise, a contemporary anxiety and a really weird future – almost like the outlook of a teenager. You know, back when confusion and sadness were still a lot of fun.