Breeze

Only Up

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Only Up Review

by Fred Thomas

On top of his work as a producer for other artists, Toronto's Josh Korody kept busy with his redlined techno solo project Nailbiter as well as running the Nodding Heads label. Before Korody's fixation on dark, aggressive techno, he was part of several bands more akin to shoegaze and dreamy synth pop. Breeze began as one of those groups in 2012, with Korody and his bandmates making jangly, reverb-saturated indie rock. Though still made in collaboration with longtime collaborator Kyle Connolly, Breeze takes an entirely different form on second album Only Up, abandoning dreamy guitar rock entirely and opting for a more dancefloor-oriented take on psychedelia. Working on an intentionally tight schedule, Korody wrote, recorded, and mixed the entirety of the album in just around two weeks, making swift decisions and opting for a process that was more spontaneous than belabored. That quick-thinking approach can be felt as the set moves briskly from Madchester-inspired dance-pop excellence on "Come Around" to the Bowie-meets-G-funk slither of "Let It In" to what sounds like the Stone Roses attempting new jack swing on "Ecstasy on Keele Street." There are moments of post-punk funkiness, dizzy synth pop, and sprinklings of experimental electronic tones throughout. The beautiful "Don't Cry" combines soft ambient synth tones, a rough-edged groove, and dynamic melodies that recall Tears for Fears at their most grandiose or the most bitter depths of Violator-era Depeche Mode. It's one of many examples of the exhilarating mishmash Korody achieves with Only Up. Tess Parks' simmering vocals on the title track drive home the range of Korody's colorful vision, simultaneously offering up a reimagination of Manchester's swirling '90s peak, while at the same time feeling futuristic and unfamiliar.

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