Published Oct 10, 2019When Chromatics showed up as live performers in a roadhouse scene of 2017's Twin Peaks: The Return, it felt like they had stepped into a spotlit space where they had always belonged. Spiritual cousins to the velvety blue of Julee Cruise dream pop, cooing across the timeless space that swirled together '50s cool jazz, '80s Eurowave and contemporary dance beats, visually stamped by Ruth Radelet's Bardot/Nico blond bob and white swashbuckler blouse.
Closer to Grey is their first proper full-length since 2012's Kill for Love, though that album was followed by a generous number of EPs, singles and soundtrack appearances. This album announces itself with a Chromatics signature: the repurposing of a classic song, this time Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence," honouring the dustiness, but playing it postmodern cool.
It then propels itself a few decades forward into "You're No Good," a straight-up 4/4 dance floor filler with '80s keyboards. The bulk of the album lives in the world where neon theme songs from Italian horror films still rule the night; none better than "Whispers in the Hall," which kicks off with an Argento/Carpenter keyboard figure and fills in with layers and layers of spooky everything.
The charm of Chromatics has always been their ability to create musical pastiche that winks at parody, but is so thoroughly and consistently within a world of their own redecoration that authenticity is never an issue. With Closer to Grey they've managed to harness the full energy from their chill fusion into their most ornately framed creation yet. (Italians Do It Better)