Riding a green crest of lush, summertime synth pop, Vancouver indie quartet Young Liars deliver their mild-mannered debut LP Tidal Wave. Following their 2012 EP Homesick Future, it seemed like the band might be headed for an amped-up extension of their quirky, burbling dance pop when they finally delivered a full-length, but instead they've softened their approach, offering up a 12-song set of contemplative chillwave and warm indie pop. Singer and guitarist Jordan Raine delivers thoughtful fare like "An Odyssey Love" and "Young Again" in an earnest tenor that recalls Postal Service-era Ben Gibbard over spatial synth parts and complex, clever drum patterns. His guitar parts are tastefully written, often arriving in delayed loops or clever arpeggios that help to propel the album's occasionally languid pace. The band's affection for sun-warmed synth tones suits them well, and even instrumental interludes like the comforting "Challenging Aquilon" feel like more than a mere ambient exercise. Perfect for daydreaming and routeless driving, Tidal Wave is an album without edges that relies more on overall tone and feeling to express its themes of wanderlust, nature, and romantic reflection. The songs are solid enough, and standout cuts like "Supertramp" (which recalls Raine's travels through Europe) and "Night Window" show a capable and attentive writer, but for the most part, Tidal Wave's charm lies in its ability to evoke the deep shades of summer through its rich, sonic patina. Fans of Washed Out's mellow glow and the sunny synth pop of acts like St. Lucia will find this debut much to their liking.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger