Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Polly Scattergood – Subsequently Lost

Sad British singer-songwriter goes synthpop, remains sad…


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[6.22]

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Another week and another example of neon despondency, this time from a Brit School graduate. It sounds as wounded as the title sounds awkward, but it’s near-impossible to shake off the déjà vu. We’ve circled this drain before.
[5]

David Sheffieck: Scattergood has hooks to spare, both vocal and instrumental, but there’s a flatness to the sound that keeps it from lifting off. Maybe if the echoed clicks and warm piano were used for more than just the intro, integrated into the song as counterpoint, there’d be some sense of energy in the production; as is, “Subsequently Lost” sounds perpetually one ingredient short of a sandwich.
[5]

Abby Waysdorf: Bits and pieces of goth have been filtering into other genres over the past decade, much to my delight, and this is another gem in that pile. It’s half goth, half Italodisco, and hits both of those sides brilliantly; the whispering vocals, the synths going from shimmering to pinging, the bass beat coming to the fore and then drifting away.
[8]

Mallory O’Donnell: Modern Eurodisco and Italo-indebted tracks usually ignore one of the genre’s great early conventions: verses and choruses should slide into each other without breaking form; moments transition easily into each next moment; everything sustains, builds, sustains. Anthem, amen. But today’s pop-grasping house has to reconcile itself with the stop-start production, the electro touches, the edgy bridges and catchy choruses demanded by the market and the contemporary notion of “anthemic.” Or one could simply say fuck all that and trance the hell out to a brilliant, depressive lyric and the most lasers.
[8]

Megan Harrington: Polly Scattergood namechecks the Bible and a half breath later it’s “ironically painful” — this is a much better Martin Gore impression than most of the synthpop species born of the Depeche Mode genus. 
[7]

Brad Shoup: I do believe I’m hearing someone read their emails on a 3 a.m. dancefloor. Eventually, one of these tracks — all whisper and pulse and absence of a hook — will connect with me. Maybe it holds up to direct interpretation or something, I dunno.
[4]

Katherine St Asaph: This resonates too personally on too many levels for me to really be unbiased. So I’ll just say: Scattergood’s debut had a phenomenal song called “I Hate the Way,” perfect stillness broken by gritted-teeth guitar and a narrator who imagines herself childlike and consumptive. While the British (and Brit School) singer-songwriter gone synthpop was a cliche dozens of instances ago, and the placid piano worried me, “Subsequently Lost” is a fine enough genre transposition: stark oscillating arpeggiation, sad through its smile.
[8]

Anthony Easton: The shimmering quality of the track and the way she sings prevent the listener from fully hearing the lyrics. I suspect that the lyrics are the only really interesting thing here.
[4]

Alfred Soto: Good on her for using filthy Visage-era sequencers to anchor a voice as diaphanous as hers. The chorus? Silk kissing fingertips. Best use of the kind of adverbs that turn editors into tenth grade English teachers. In recent years only Saint Etienne has mastered lightness this light. I don’t know if I could handle a whole album.
[7]

Reader average: [7.2] (5 votes)

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One Response to “Polly Scattergood – Subsequently Lost”

  1. I considered the lyrics in an L. Cohen light – I think she’s actually attempting a form of despondent humor.