Album Review: Information
After a slow tinkling of keys, the atmospheric brooding of album opener “Dead Arms and Dead Legs” from Eliot Sumner’s full length Information sweeps like a dire warning. “All my fears become alive” she sings, the refrain setting a stage for what is to come before breaking into an electronic storm-cloud of feedback. Sumner first hit the music scene under the name I Blame Coco, with a 2010 debut album that sang the guises of guitar-pop artifice without ever sinking its teeth in.
With the pending release of Information Sumner changes things up a bit, going for a darker electro-rock vibe that perfectly propels her storytelling vocals. Her vocals sound eerily reminiscent of Sting – who by the way is her dad – with an androgynous, husky tone and studied intonation. Releasing January 22 under her own name, the record is full of darker, 80s-tinged synths.
It’s not all dark and stormy though. After the first track you’re swept into hypnotizing dance-ready titletrack “Information,” a lovelorn affair, on which Sumner pleads “Give me something that I can work with/deliver me from the dark.” There’s a delicate balance of sadness and hope that Sumner has managed to twist into a new reality, her voice drawing you in with a sultry, low-register, laid-bare desperation.
On “Halfway to Hell” Sumner strikes big with hair-band heavy guitars, while “Firewood” sounds distinctly like an updated Police track. There are moments of layered electro-pop that feel truer to her genre, but then “Say Anything You Want” has an offbeat folksy flair and feels a bit throw-away, out of place on the album. “Species” has an alien thrum and twitchy feedback before album closer “In Real Life” jumps into an early-90’s pop-punk spin. Sumner’s draw is in her accessibility, and this record offers plenty of ear-friendly and danceable moments.
Information Track Listing:
Dead Arms and Dead Legs
Let My Love Lie On Your Life
Halfway To Hell
I Followed You Home
What Good Could Ever Come Of This
Say Anything You Want
In Real Life
Review by Stephanie Dore