Modern Worship

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Hyetal's sophomore follow-up to his 2011 debut album, Broadcast, lightly builds upon its predecessor's dark, developed beats with layers of intelligent, hazy melodies and craft. Whilst still displaying his love for '80s synths on the opener "Forefathers," the album inhabits more intrinsic influences and sees the Bristol-based artist involve vocals to dreamy effect. This is heard on the almost Elizabeth Fraser-esque delivery of guest vocalist Alison Garner on the track "The City Is Ours." The rest of the record seems to plays itself out like a vintage video game throwback. The synth pads on "Lake Rider" chime gloriously together and seamlessly glide into lead single "Northwest Passage," where the percussion loftily shudders alongside a cloudy vocal sample and synths. This is definitely more of a pop record. Vocals are within the seams of Modern Worship, and there is a distinct shift from the dark, driven sound that Hyetal is best known for. There is a sense that he is trying to fit more poignancy and emotion into his sound, but it is occasionally jarring and repetitive. Despite this flaw, Modern Worship is undeniably a mark of an artist growing in confidence and style. Although not as strong or as memorable as his first effort, this album will grow on the listener, and its melodies and ideas are intriguing enough to merit repeat listens.