February 2, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 36°F


Soon-to-be-famous group wins hearts with raw lyrics

When someone mentions New Zealand, many people don’t really think of rock bands. But, all this could change with The Naked and Famous, a young, up-and-coming group hailing from the island nation. Their new album, “Passive Me, Aggressive You,” offers something for everyone and hits United States stores March 15.

The most impressive aspect of the record is its versatility. The group samples from a vast array of musical influences to create a singly defined and expansive collection. The instrumental track “The Source” evokes Trent Reznor-esque industrial orchestration, while “Spank” incorporates the guitar yelps and distortions found in Sleigh Bells’ riot-inducing jams.

While The Naked and Famous push musical boundaries with their adventurous variations, the album remains solidly grounded in good old-fashioned electropop. Pounding synthesizers, electronic drum kits and airy vocals permeate the record.

“Young Blood” features a wall of sound built from heavy, sustained guitars, moaning low-register pulses underneath even more synthesizer ornamentation cascading through the musical bars. The song’s pulse is infectious and attention grabbing.

Out of the 13-song album, another standout is the final cut, “Girls Like You.” A good heart-on-your-sleeve breakup song is usually a crowd-pleaser, and listeners will find it here. Lead singer Thom Powers delivers a stunning vocal performance as he critiques a former love, singing, “And your heart is a stone buried underneath your pretty clothes.”

The group’s powerful ballads tear at the heart and result in a purely euphoric listening experience. Plug in and crank the volume to the max for what is sure to be a musical highlight of 2011.

4 out of 4 stars