By Kevin O'Donnell
Updated January 09, 2017 at 04:46 PM EST
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Credit: Tim Barber

Back in 2008, Chairlift gained national attention when their effervescent pop ditty “Bruises” was featured in an Apple commercial for iPod Nanos. MP3 players may have gone the way of the dodo, but seven years later, the Brooklyn-based duo—down to singer Caroline Polachek and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Wimberly after founding member Aaron Pfenning split in 2010—continue to make experimental-leaning synth-pop that serves as a showcase for Polachek’s lithe and operatic pipes—one of the most unique in pop today.

Polachek is also a whip-smart lyricist and on these ten tracks, she reveals a poet’s eye for observing the world around her. Tracks like “Ottawa to Osaka” prove that like any good creative writing major, she knows how to show and never tell. And at times, she’s as playful as writers like Gertrude Stein. On the ’70s disco romp, “Polymorphing,” she coos, “I’m pololololololololoymormorphing”—for Polachek, an LOL is an LOL is an LOL.

While Polachek’s voice is certainly the focus, Chairlift’s production is crucial. (It’s no wonder Beyoncé tapped the 30-year-old to write and produce her 2013 track “No Angel.”) And the pair’s grab-bag of sonic tricks—hip-swiveling boom-baps; industrial synth scrapes; comfy bass grooves—saves overly precious ballads like “Crying in Public” from feeling like lame coffeeshop-folk confessionals. Best moment: “Unfinished Business,” which pairs a military snare and electronic glitches with Polachek’s hair-raising wail.

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