We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club, and a lot of it’s too good to ignore. In Playlisted, we spotlight new music that’s slightly off the beaten path.
Album: St. Lucia by St. Lucia (out now on Neon Gold/Columbia)
Press play if you like: OMD; smart synths; triumphant hooks; dreamy vocals
Some background: As the name implies, St. Lucia has an exotic bio. Jean-Philip Grobler is from South Africa and toured the world as a member of the Drakensberg Boys Choir School before studying music for three years in England. (These days, he calls Brooklyn home.) The St. Lucia EP was originally supposed to come out last November on HeavyRoc but was held back in favor of major-league backing thanks to Columbia’s arrangement with Neon Gold, the previously singles-only label that’s made the extended-play leap with St. Lucia. (A full-length is due later this year.) Grobler hasn’t totally left his days in the boys choir behind, as his beautiful voice melts easily around the immaculately layered music. He’s complemented on the mic by girlfriend Patricia Beranek, a member of St. Lucia’s live band. Here’s hoping that taking his studio treats to the stage doesn’t do much to alter Grobler’s magical formula.
Try this: Grobler doesn’t need hyper-catchy choruses to conduct his epic orchestral maneuvers in the dark, but he pulls out all of the stops during “Closer Than This,” which ends the six-song EP with a euphoric exclamation point. When he and Beranek sing, “I can’t imagine there’s a way to get closer than this,” he could very well be talking about the pop perfection he’s achieved during these three and a half minutes.