US electro pop duo Mackintosh Braun were formed by ‘accident’ eight years ago: Ben Braun didn’t even know who band mate Ian Mackontosh was until a realtor gave him a mix tape. After playing Ian’s music in his living room, Ben recognised the pair shared a taste for particular sounds. Their self released debut album The Sound was born soon after, and it wasn’t long before Chop Shop signed them up to their label for future releases; their sophomore LP Where We Are was dubbed as one of 2010’s most overlooked albums by Associated Press. We also can’t forget their recent release of their EP The City Below. Now after five years between album releases, the pair have returned with their third effort, Arcadia. Mackintosh Braun have an undeniable chemistry when it comes to writing music: hopefully we get to hear it again.
A quiet atmosphere builds into a flowing ambience: that is how to best describe opening track The City Below, with its solid arrangement is an airy vocal part is like a dream. On the contrary, Never Give In cuts straight to the chase with its fun introduction and energetic aura. The bouncy bass synths give In Reverse a commendable ‘oomph’: the overall explosiveness of this track is what makes it addictive. The arrangement of Into Nothing is the kind of edgy electro pop that you would expect to hear in a television commercial, but it wouldn’t be complete without its vocal melody which takes you on a journey to the stars. Outline fits in with the overall sound of the album, it consists of the same atmospheric tones and vibes.
Another Place gets you thinking, if you’re not focusing on the lyrics or its sound you are lost in your thoughts, in a good way; the same can easily be said for Falling In. You literally delve into the sensual abyss it creates with its breathy instrumentation and light hearted vocals. Signal is somewhat different, the picked guitar in the background of each verse is refreshing and its melody stands alone, Holding Pattern sounds heavily influenced by some of the biggest hits of the 80s with its heavy synths and snappy vocals. Through The Noise proves to be another commendable track with its full atmospheric sound, and to close the album We Run Faster Then has a more dark and deeper sound presented in its verses, but its choruses are much more enlightening.
Mackintosh Braun know exactly what they’re doing with this genre, Arcadia is a marvellous array of sound that never really ceases to amaze. There was never a time where it could be thought that ‘this song sounds the same’, or ‘this song is entirely boring’: they are all written and delivered particularly well and that chemistry we hoped for remains. Ian and Ben continue to up their game with each release, this is certainly the case with Arcadia, the pair truly have a knack for the electro pop world. It will be interesting to hear where Mackintosh Braun go from here.