It Is a Tropical Shame, Now I’m Leaving
Marcus Thaine prefers the band’s previous pop-tastic efforts but still manages to discover a couple of musical gems on this year’s release:
What made Is Tropical’s debut, Native To so brilliant was its ability to produce huge pop hooks in a bizarre and inventive way. This idea of running parallel to the mainstream yet taking perpendicular jabs every once in a while has underpinned Is Tropical.
The band rose through their relentless squat parties, tours with the Mystery Jets and their video to The Greeks – involving 10 year olds being blown apart into animated gore. Recently they’ve toured Mongolia and released a video featuring giant CGI vaginas being trust into a 15 year old’s face in another collaboration with genius French directors, Megaforce. Is Tropical have never taken themselves too seriously. Yet this month they’ve released their second album I’m Leaving which clocks in as a colossal flop in what made Is Tropical such a great group in the first place.
It’s practically impossible not to cringe and squirm to the overly saccharine stab at a summer anthem, Sun Sun. Lead by criminally cheesy lyrics and a tinkering xylophone, it’s a song completely out of character for Is Tropical. All Night is infinitely more interesting in its production yet still falls a little flat in its chorus which never really seems to go anywhere.
There are some moments where Is Tropical hit their stride. The gorgeous Dancing Anymore is a gem among the cud of synths and corny chorus lines which dominate the album. Whether it’s the inclusion of Gary Barber’s girlfriend taking vocal lead, or the sheer production and melodic structure, Dancing Anymore is a wondrous track which harks back to the effortless hooks of Native To.
Is Tropical have the ability to produce wonky bursts of brilliance (see: Seasick Mutiny, The Greeks), yet I’m Leaving is just a tame collection of songs which sound like a tacky DIY version of an even shitter Two Door Cinema Club. It’s a shame because I really like Is Tropical, but as the title goes, ‘I’m leaving’ is a departure, one away from everything which drew me to Is Tropical in the first place.
Words by Marcus Thaine.