Uniformly molded -- that's Styrofoam the polymer. And to an extent, that's Styrofoam the indietronic musical act, as well. Listening to Nothing's Lost, the third full-length by Brussels-based lap-pop producer Arne Van Petegem, reveals identifiable undercurrents throughout a compact 40 minutes. Styrofoam followers will recognize the molecular makeup of Nothing's Lost, with which Van Petegem offers more harmonized and regimented plaintive glitch-pop, attempting to bridge intimacy and rhythmic immediacy.
Nothing's Lost is the type of wistful album best labeled "sweater weather music" -- nine eddies of micro-edited melody influenced by Anglo-pop. There is something cozy and honeyed about even the most hushed and hazy tracks. Crisp clicks and clucks are dashed with solemn sweeps and minor-key accoutrements -- glistening guitar twang and chiming pianos engaged in bittersweet pirouettes. Atop, Anticon's Alias lays a verse, with assists from the Notwist's Markus Acher (whose own grainy and serene drifts have left an indelible mark on indietronic), Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard (amounting to what basically resembles a highly embellished outtake from Gibbard's über-successful Postal Service side project with producer Jimmy Tamborello), American Analogue Set's Andrew Kenny and Lali Puna's Valerie Trebeljahr, among others. The danger of the genre, however, is how close to precious it borders -- Nothing's Lost at times being no exception.
With Styrofoam's latest, admittedly solid, album, none of Van Petegem's trademark lush stutters are lost, indeed. Though for the next release, it might not hurt to find some new voice, not just new voices.
Styrofoam plays the Drunken Unicorn Fri., Nov. 18. $8. 9 p.m. 736 Ponce de Leon Place. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net.
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