Class Photo

Light Years Later

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Following touring in support of STRFKR's third album, Miracle Mile, Patrick Morris parted ways with the dance-minded indie group in 2014 to go the solo route. After relocating from Portland to Los Angeles, he worked on recording material for a debut mostly on his own in his garage, then moved to Oslo in his wife's native Norway, where he signed with Jansen Records. Calling his '80s- and '90s-influenced project Class Photo and underscoring its retro qualities with a Gen X yearbook-themed cover photo, he presents the resulting Light Years Later in 2019. While partly inspired by loss, it's a musically upbeat affair, mixing '80s synth pop with the playful, poppier end of the '90s alt-rock spectrum. "Driving in a Storm," for instance, channels early Weezer, a stated influence of Morris'. It's one of a minority of guitar-based tracks, which also include "Magic Energy," featuring actress Jacqueline Kim. The slacker spirit of those songs extends across the whole album, even on sleeker, more frequent synth-based tracks. Among them, "Foreign Pictures" evokes the '80s dance-pop of bands like Thompson Twins and the Human League, if in a more rudimentary form. Addressing his deceased father, "Yeah You Break (My Heart)" delivers '80s keyboard timbres and a funky dance groove that lift its melancholy lyrics. Throughout even the heavier subject matter, that loose, freewheeling spirit is helped along not only by the album's home-recorded approach and Morris' laid-back disposition but by the inclusion of tracks like the spoken, French-language "Intermede d'Incertitude" and automated phone menus that bookend the record. It's a fun if mercurial set, and Morris demonstrates a flair for a good chorus hook regardless of style.

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