Following up a near-perfect pop debut is no easy task. Hence the term "sophomore slump".
Dragonette's second was going to be tricky in my mind. 'Galore' was handily my favorite album of 2007 - single after single after should have been single - and despite a few solid teaser tracks, I was still nervous they wouldn't be able to pull it off.
Well then. I am very, very happy to report that they have more than succeeded in crafting a worthy follow-up to their debut. It is very much the work of the same band - title track/lead single kicks us off in very much the same way "I Get Around" did previously, dirty synths backing an even dirtier lyric - while not being a mere repeat. Whereas 'Galore' was essentially a greatest hits waiting to happen, 'Fixin to Thrill' is a solid album front to back. Some songs are stronger making some appear weaker, but they all fit together into a very cohesive, poptastic whole.
Second single "Gone Too Far" is also the second track. On it's own, it didn't quite work - the electro-country twang seemed a bit of a stretch. However, placed on the album in between the aforementioned dirty-girl call-to-arms of the title track and the dark corner of the dancefloor ready, downright nasty "Lair" it makes sense. Similarly, "Pick Up The Phone" didn't really seem to take off until it got the remix treatment from one Richard X - he should be in charge of remixing everything as I often say - but it serves as a nice mid-way point for the album. Leading into...
Two of the best tracks Dragonette have put to tape yet. First, "We Rule The World" - they should, really - a playful stormer of a song. Second, in eighth position: "Big Sunglasses", a fun-tastic new wave throwback complete with stuttering vocal intro/outro and acoustic guitar/"woo woo" vocal mid-song breakdown. A-mazing.
After that things calm down a bit - the final third isn't disappointing so to speak, it just doesn't grab as immediately as the opening 8-song run. It is also where a good chunk of the down tempos are hidden - if initial reactions to 'Galore's quieter moments are anything to go by, they just need some time to sink in. It does, however, have one of their best song titles in "You're A Disaster", so there you have it...whatever "it" is.
And that's that. One of my most anticipated albums of the year - the last one remaining, I believe - not disappointing in any way, shape or form. I don't know if it's got what it takes to knock La Roux from the top in the album countdown for 2009 or if it will overtake 'Galore' as my go-to Dragonette album once the excitement of the new wears off, but it is a solid follow up from a band who almost didn't get to share their first album with us. Can't wait to see them next Monday - make sure to play "Lair", please.