Technically, Chairlift is made up of two people: Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly to be specific. On Moth, Chairlift has become a singular entity, where it’s hard to tell where Polachek ends and Wimberly begins. Okay, so they might not be that inseparable, but there’s no doubt that Moth is the group’s most realized project yet. The duo work off of each other wonderfully – each of them complementing the other’s attributes with their own traits. On many of the hooks on the album, Polachek’s soaring vocals are tinkered with to give them an electronic tint. This gives her vocals an admirable quirk that balances accessibility and artfulness. In return, Polachek’s vocals carry enough emotion to bring a human touch to the music throughout the album. This effect upon the record is most apparent on the incredibly lovely ballad “Crying in Public,” where her touching croons are set to a crawling bassline a delicate synth melody to form an album highlight. The only time when her vocals are somewhat detrimental to the song is “Unfinished Business,” where her raw performance sticks out like a sore thumb in its raucousness. With Moth, Polachek has solidified herself as one of the best singers in modern pop music.
With each successive album, Chairlift has gotten more lively with its sound. Starting with its dreamy debut Does You Inspire You, the duo is now releasing some of the most striking indie pop jams within the past year. While Polachek’s previously mentioned vocals are a big part of Chairlift’s formula, the production is also critical to this success as well. Each track is cleanly produced, making Moth an overall pleasant listen and aesthetically speaking. The album transcends being simply a pretty record and nothing else with impeccable songwriting and a good supply of danceable grooves, separating themselves from their contemporaries. Whether they blast past you with more urgent cuts such as “Romeo” and “Moth to the Flame,” take a more laid back approach on “Polymorphing,” or perfect their synthpop sound on the E•MO•TION-esque “Show U Off,” Chairlift fails to disappoint with almost every single track here no matter what style it tries. There’s even a faint glitch pop feel on some tracks, especially “Ottawa to Osaka.” Sadly though, this track is a bit too abstract for its own good to take advantage of this experimentation. The songwriting and melody are just too weak to fully justify its five-minute runtime. This exchange of experimentation for quality could also be applied to the closer, the only other track that could be considered “bad” on the entire record. Moth is at its very best when it embraces its poppiness, and there’s something to appreciate within that. Transitioning from unabashedly outgoing to emotionally conscious with ease, Chairlift cover enough bases to make the party being held on Moth open to everybody. Chairlift has been evolving with each subsequent album, and Moth is the product of that progression.