The full-length debut album from Los Angeles' Capital Cities, 2013's In a Tidal Wave of Mystery is an infectious mix of synth-heavy dance pop. These musically ambitious productions touch upon '80s new wave and '70s disco in the band’s own unique, lo-fi way. In fact, part of the album’s charm is that many of the songs here sound like keyboard-heavy demos that were perhaps meant to be fleshed out with various instruments but never were. Hence, the preponderance of synth trumpet, digital strings, and other extremely old-school-sounding electronic samples. The result is that the album brings to mind the early, innovative electronic music of artists who were earnestly taken with the explicitly computer-generated sounds of the modern wonder that was the synthesizer, like Level 42 and Giorgio Moroder. In that sense, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery fits in nicely alongside the works of such similarly inclined indie pop contemporaries as AM & Shawn Lee, MGMT, Phoenix, and the Strokes' Julian Casablancas' solo work. Featured on the album is the Top Ten radio hit "Safe and Sound."
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar