It is popularly held that it is better not to see how laws or sausages are made. For the average punter, artistic endeavours can probably be added to the list. At this point, you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with Gone Now, the second album from Jack Antonoff’s personal creative platform, Bleachers.
Besides his work under the Bleachers moniker, and his roles in indie outfits fun. and Steel Train, Antonoff has established himself as an accomplished pen-for-hire, helping to write tracks for the likes of Tegan and Sara, Carly Rae Jepsen, Taylor Swift, Sia, and Lorde. Gone Now feels more like a sketchpad than a finished album. A place for Antonoff to play with, and try out ideas and techniques. The hunks of meat and the grinder in the process of making the sausage.
Gone Now, is thoroughly rooted in an ‘80s electro/synth-pop revival sound, a fact broadcast by lead single Don’t Take the Money – a song co-written by, and featuring Lorde as a backing vocalist – and opening number Dreams of Mickey Mantle. The latter features a strong build, highlighting Antonoff’s skills at structuring a song, while the former is all about the electronic beats and synth lines.
Everybody Lost Somebody is the album’s sleeper track, improving and becoming more enjoyable with each listen. Opening with an infectious groove, and featuring the occasional horn augmentation, the song’s understated sound sharply contrasts with Let’s Get Married and its anthemic ambitions. Utilising a warm, urban vibe, Goodbye proves to be the record’s standout track and, next to the first half of Nothing Is U, is sonically Gone Now’s most intimate song.
There is no doubt that Gone Now has its moments, and there are plenty of intriguing moments throughout, but they are too often lost in the mix of ideas and sounds that Antonoff deploys. Phrases and beats that deserve more space to breath, more time to be explored, end up being neglected in the rush to move on to the next one. With some nipping and tucking, Gone Now could have been a more coherent album.