Toronto synthpop duo FEATURETTE are not playing your little games, as they make abundantly clear on their long-awaited sophomore album Dream Riot, released today. Riding on the back of their pleasantly futuristic lead sing ‘White Rabbit,’ Dream Riot continues in the same vein: hook-heavy injections of bass breaking choruses softened by glimmering verses pulsating with tension and imminent catharsis.
FEATURETTE takes a Me-versus- You stance here, with each track acting as a kind of jilted lover’s internal tug-of-war. In fact, nearly half the LP’s nine titles feature those words. Singer Lexie Jay’s lyrics smolder with self-assuredness, vulnerability, independence from romantic love, complete dependence on romantic love, acceptance, and spite simultaneously. On the highly charged field of electricity that is the explosive ‘Burn it Down,’ Jay sings, “and if you can’t find love you’ll always have those years of keeping score;” a consolation tinged with regretful self-awareness and loaded with Dream Riot’s acerbic themes.
While Jay’s sentiments boil and cut, instrumentalist Jon Fedorsen’s beats shoot through the lyrics with adrenaline, stuttering and releasing while toying with dynamics of volume and frequency. ‘Million Things’, ‘Burn It Down’, and ‘Don’t Know Me Without You’ feature tamely delivered verses followed by onslaughts of aggressively programmed choruses in the style of Charli XCX and Phantogram. It’s a style that pervades Dream Riot without relenting, resulting in a collection of jittering earworms.
Listen to Dream Riot on Spotify