Liechtenstein, Survival Strategies In A Modern World
A candy-coated noise-pop valentine with a few darker edges
With their pixie haircuts, lilting voices and dreamy, pastel choruses, it's easy to dismiss Liechtenstein as the latest manifestation of the noise-pop craze. Trendy as their sound may be, however, Liechtenstein's debut album, Survival Strategies in a Modern World, has all the makings of a mainstay.
Drawing from the same '80s twee tradition as Vivian Girls and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the all-girl Swedish trio specializes in candy-coated noise pop, awash with soft, high vocals and distortion-heavy guitar. The girls are all chiming harmonies and ingénue charm on album opener "All At Once," and in "Roses in the Park," frontwoman Renée Gustafsson daydreams about playgrounds and unrequited love while her bandmates swoon in the background.
A few rougher edges add a sense of lingering eeriness to music that, traditionally, is all bubblegum and sunshine. A rapping snare guts "Wallpaper Stripes" of any lyrical sentimentality. More jarringly, the entropic "White Dress" descends from an airy verse to an almost Elfman/Burton-esque haunt — and by the end of the track, the girls are practically barking its nonsensical, breakneck chorus.
Survival Strategies isn't all sweet harmony and rosy romance, but even its darker moments have a sugary, dreamlike air. At only 23 minutes, it could stand to last longer; but like any decent dream, this twee-pop reverie is just as fleeting as it is sweet.