Swapping lyrics in favour of broken hearts and uncertain relationships rather than intergalactic, space invader imagery, Sex With Strangers’ fourth studio album Behaviours may be their most personal to date. But even with the more forlorn lyrics the band isn’t leaving their glossy and electronic-glazed rock tunes far from the dance floor.
Behaviours is Sex With Strangers’ first album after completing their “robot-rock trilogy.” As this suggests, the previous three albums offered lots of synthesizers, futuristic filters and blatant apocalyptic lyrics. Behaviours still dabbles in similar themes and totes that late-eighties new wave feel, but it’s far more rock-pop in comparison to its spacey synths and lyrics that have been toned down several notches.
The opening and title track, “Behaviours” is the first sign of this. The catchy number has a poppy melody with a chorus that’s a cross between the Killers and U2.
The electronic, new wave vibe is at times not just toned down, but non-existent. Mellower tracks like “Blindness,” which has an unexpected pretty ‘60s pop groove, proves that Sex With Strangers can really dive into another sound without a hitch. Yet there are moments when particular songs can’t help but teeter back to those overtly futuristic, robotic-pinching soundscapes, which tends to disjoint the album. “The Brave One” starts off like a cool Depeche Mode-inspired number, but soon sounds like the soundtrack to a Matrix sequel.
There’s some new territory being explored on Behaviours, which is indeed intriguing. But when the themes and intense sounds of the band’s previous records come pounding through, it leaves the listener a little bit at a loss for direction.