Under Review

Texture & Light

The Hard Problem of Consciousness (Independent)

Review by Fraser Dobbs

Aspiring songwriters take note: just because you don’t have to write interesting songs, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. It’s not that there’s anything immediately wrong with Texture & Light’s debut record, The Hard Problem of Consciousness, but its lack of imagination and self-awareness is so tame as to be borderline offensive.

For fans of ‘80s-hearkening electro synth, the 10-track dream-pop album contains just enough varying and interesting instrumentation to justify its 43-minute running time. One of the core strengths of Consciousness is its development as a band affair: flangy guitars, plenty of synths and a real, living bass player are a welcome change of pace for a genre that’s been over-saturated with laptop junkies hitting “play” and singing along.

Tonally, the record stays completely confined within the niche MGMT‘s first record opened up, minus the psychedelic elements. An even dancier version of Oracular Spectacular didn’t have to be a bad thing, but singer Trevor Refix’s tired and completely lifeless lyrics bog down every song they’re inserted into.

Electro-pop isn’t a style of music necessarily renowned for its strong writing style, but Texture & Light seems to have used this as a safety net to avoid anything even remotely thought-provoking—the track “Jaded Dancefloor Heroes” blends the ridiculous lines “television always lies / computer screen never cries” with an outro bleating “when the drugs kick in” repeated ad nauseum.