The soundtrack to Drive captured a strain of 2010s synth pop that was sleek and cinematic, perfect for tracking scenes of rainy streets and violence. Electric Youth's collaboration with College on the song's anthemic centerpiece, "A Real Hero," was the standout track that made them a band to watch. Their long-awaited debut album, 2014's Innerworld, features that song, plus 11 more that sound like they could have been on the Drive soundtrack. Or they could be covers of songs from any number of forgotten teen films of the '80s, where the hero needs a soundtrack that pushes the melancholy and uplifting buttons at the same time. The duo of instrumentalist Austin Garrick and vocalist Bronwyn Griffin took their time recording the album, spending time in Toronto recording with Garrick's collection of vintage synths and at a studio in L.A. that came equipped with a screening room where they could spend time gathering inspiration. They must have only watched melancholy, rain-slicked melodramas because Innerworld is soaked in blue, from the deep indigo of the synths to the aquamarine teardrops conjured up by Griffin's vocals. Listening to the album is like immersing yourself in a movie where the only scenes are breakups, montages of people on hilltops looking wistfully in the distance as the lights of the city flicker below them, and tail lights reflecting off empty streets. Even the songs that seem hopeful or less than heartbroken, like "Tomorrow" and "Without You," have a gloomy heaviness that's impossible to break. If that's the mood one is hoping to dive deeply into, then Innerworld is a satisfying experience. The duo certainly know how to build and sustain a mood, Griffin's vocals are enchanting, and the songs are mostly memorable, "We Are the Youth" and "Without You" especially. And "A Real Hero," obviously. One mood doesn't always make for a great listening experience, though, and it would have been nice if they had kept some of the bouncy pop sparkle of some of their early singles to give the album another dimension. It also would have been nice if they had cut the treacly ballad "If All She Has Is You," which sounds like it came in 14th place in 1984's Eurovision competition. These issues aside, Electric Youth's debut is a well-constructed, carefully thought-out debut that belies its long gestation process and will make people who fell in love with them thanks to the Drive soundtrack very happy in a melancholy kind of way.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra