Chromatics, Protect-U

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Editorial Review

Album review: "Kill for Love"
By Brandon Weigel
Friday, July 13, 2012

Five years between albums is an eternity in the era of Internet buzz and the carousel of flavors of the week. But that’s how long it took Portland electronic group Chromatics to release a follow-up to 2007’s “Night Drive,” the band’s much-lauded first foray into dance music after cutting its teeth as a noise rock outfit.

With “Kill for Love,” a stirring, cinematic new album of atmospheric synth songs, Chromatics proves that good things still come to those who have patience beyond the buzz cycle. (And the “cinematic” is especially important here. The song “Tick of the Clock” was one of the tracks featured on the soundtrack for the Ryan Gosling movie “Drive.”) The band proves just as adept at vividly creating mood and environment with dark synthesizer drones and processed drum machine beats, traits that made the stylized movie soundtrack a breakthrough.

The album opens with a deconstruction of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” that is truly resonant. That leads into the energetic dance pop of the title track. But the most ambitious, and often most rewarding, parts lie in the album’s middle, where Chromatics plays with form and genre to create denser soundscapes.

All of it was worth the wait.