Corbu - Crayon Soul album review

Corbu's electronic psych-pop produced by Dave Fridmann.

Corbu Crayon Soul album artwork

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

You can tell Flaming Lips/Mercury Rev producer Dave Fridmann was at the controls for this debut album from the New York-based duo: he gives the music his trademark bright, busy feel, such that, according to Corbu mainman Jonathan Graves, every day in the studio “was like Christmas morning – we’d go listen and our songs would be full of new gifts. It felt like he took every song and made it the 3D version.” It’s mainly Graves’ show, though. He designed the artwork and wrote the songs with his musical other half, Amanda Scott.

He plays most of the instruments (apart from the synths, which are Scott’s domain) and sings, using his light, airy voice to convey juvenile glee. The results are woozy, euphoric electronica with soaring melodies and an emotional undertow. On Crayon Soul, Graves’ intention was to “find a way back to a childlike and joyous mental state”, and he largely succeeds. But it’s not all kids’ stuff: Prism – based on a reggaeton rhythm – is about psychedelic drugs and the changes they can effect, while Neon Hallway, with its lush New Order chords, is a love song. Really, this is a record that electronic music fans of any age can appreciate.

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.