Miami Horror

All Possible Futures

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Three of the five years Australia's Miami Horror spent between the release of Illumination and this, their second album, involved trotting between Los Angeles and leader Benjamin Plant's native Melbourne. The band also spent time writing new material in locations across California, France, and Australia. As the cover of All Possible Futures indicates, they've nonetheless stuck to pastel-colored fantasies. The imagery, however, couldn't possibly convey the band's increased emphasis on "proper" songs, or that they've come up with slightly more distinctive composites of their influences, entrenched in the brighter aspects of '80s synth pop and MOR prog with some echoes of artists like the Beach Boys, Prince, and Phoenix. Ultimately, the album is more appealing than the debut. The dreamier, more house-inspired songs like "Cellophane (So Cruel)," featuring vocals from Aaron Miller and Gavin Turek, are the most effective and lasting. Spangly new-love anthem "Real Slow," more about living in the moment than abstinence, is a short distance behind with a moving turn from Sarah Chernoff. Mercifully, Miami Horror attempt funk less often, though "Love Like Mine" at least means well and is both cute and crisp. In fact, regardless of the backdrop or frontperson, all of it seems as if it was made in a state of wonderment. Even a post-breakup scene sounds like it was pulled from a dream, all floatin'-on-a-cloud blissful relief, slathered in Technicolor goop. It's quite possible that this goes down best in a drop top, cruising down a coastline on a hot summer day, half-heard through a rush of wind and whirling thoughts.

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