Some songs will forever be known as “The [Insert Film Title Here] Song”. Sometimes, even already extant classics are re-appropriated by directors, often a little too successfully. Can you ever hear “Unchained Melody” without seeing a spinning potter’s wheel and Patrick Swayze nibbling Demi Moore’s ear? Can you hear “Take My Breath Away” without thinking of a short man in a fighter pilot uniform? So, if you are an emerging band whose single gets used by the likes of Nicholas Winding Refn in Drive - one of the biggest movie soundtracks of the past five years - you can understand why you might wait a while before bringing out your debut LP.
If you've heard of Electric Youth, it will almost undoubtably be because of their collaboration with College (A.K.A David Grellier) on “Real Hero”, which appeared on the soundtrack alongside the likes of Kavinsky and Chromatics. The synth drenched, emotionally charged pop on that OST is definitely continued on Innerworld. Written in a studio while staring at classic sci-fi, Electric Youth amass analogue sounds from vintage synths to weave Blade Runner-style futurescapes: it feels likes the future, if the future was set in 1982. Perhaps not surprising for a band who take their name from a Debbie Gibson single.
“Before Life” encapsulates the soaring, cinematic quality of their songwriting, which is set against the warmth of nostalgic electro-ballads, like “Runaway”. However, the album doesn't really deliver pop gems as consistently as you might hope. There's an ill-conceived cover of John McGlynn's “If All She Has Is You” slap bang in the middle of it all, which kind of spoils the general the flow of things a bit. “WeAreTheYouth” is pretty lacklustre, as manifestos for staying “young at heart” go, and “Another Story” seems to wander around for three minutes without giving you a single hook to cling to.
It's in these moments when the record feels as if it needs an injection of testosterone. It's all just a bit, well... nice. There's a lack of aggression and conviction, which makes Electric Youth seem a little bit toothless in comparison to say, Chvrches, who are able to pedal a kind of analogue synth-pop which is simultaneously completely uplifting and layered with a definite sense of broodiness.
That said, even if Innerworld is hardly the definition of 'all killer, no filler', the moments of brilliance of that album shine pretty brightly. “The Best Thing” is a glowing, bitter sweet symphony of synth and, of course “Real Hero” might be one of the best pop songs of the past half a decade. Innerworld is a bit of a mixed bag, but one that's absolutely worth dipping into - every now and then you'll pull out some real gems.