Alice on the Roof may at first glance seem a deceptively whimsical title. Trained as a classical pianist, her musicianship is evident on her latest release Higher, a record which simultaneously captures her youthful spirit and measures the zeitgeist of the synth-pop generation. Having released her debut EP Easy Come Easy Go last month on her soundcloud, Alice has followed up with an album which successfully straddles the fine line between emotional synth-pop and vaporwave.
Undeniably, each of the songs on the record feel like instant hits – take the snappy beat of Like a Dying Rose, or the almost criminally catchy Mystery Light. While her spatious, synth-heavy production guarantees audience satisfaction, the record will inevitably draw criticism for its occasionally lazy lyricism (“you make me feel like I’m flying”, “take me back to the start to mend a broken heart”) and somewhat generic brand of synth-pop. Although the beautifully balladic On The Roof attempts to plumb emotional depth, with its delicate pianos and strong vocals, one can’t help but detect a slightly formulaic edge to Alice’s music. If the record sounds slightly familiar, it’s for a good reason: producer Tim Bran has previously worked with heavyweight London Grammar, whose music bears an almost identical resemblance to Alice’s, from the breathy vocals to the trip-hop backing beats.
Alice on the Roof has definitely crafted a watertight aesthetic, perfectly tailored to her songwriting capacities: the shimmering synths and flawless production of the album are testament enough to her ability as a musician. Ultimately, it’s a strong release, which will inevitably find a niche audience, but whether or not its staying power is strong enough is to be seen.