In the waning days of the summer of 2018, Los Angeles duo Capital Cities issued their appropriately seasonal sophomore full-length, Solarize. The sun-washed set of futuristic synth-disco positively shimmers, providing an ideal soundtrack to smooth romancing and sweaty body-moving. Less indie-precious than their 2013 debut, Solarize smooths the digital edge of their early sound in favor of warm tones, hypnotic beats, and a focus on a full album experience as opposed to a collection of singles. Opener "Space" sets the stage, transporting listeners on a tropical escape to Capital Cities' own outer space beach resort, where songs such as "Venus & River" and "Levitate" swirl through the ether. Standout singles "Swimming Pool Summer," "My Name Is Mars," and the irresistible "Vowels" stand tall alongside previous catalog gems like "Kangaroo Court" and "Origami," while slinky deep cuts "Sunburn Surrender" and "Gatekeeper Julie" inject hypnotic groove. The pair's signature horns are employed throughout, whether jolting "Swimming Pool Summer" to life or cooling off "Only If You Want It" with its sexy sax comedown. Even though the former commercial jingle writers haven't rehashed "Safe and Sound" to cash in another indie hit, there's plenty to lure listeners here. Physically satisfying and endlessly funky, Solarize is confident, mature, and Capital Cities' strongest statement to date.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung