Calvin Cardioid: But Now I'm Looking Forward
King Deluxe

King Deluxe's latest release offers a bit of a change of pace from the label's usual fare, with But Now I'm Looking Forward, the debut outing by Toronto-based Calvin Cardioid, slotting itself more into the electro-pop genre than others in its catalogue. Think of it as forty-five minutes of frothy pop sparkle, heavy on analog synthesizers (the cover image is actually based on Cardioid's yellow Omega) and vocals.

While But Now I'm Looking Forward isn't a club album per se, dance rhythms do emerge in uptempo floor-fillers like the hyperactive roller “The Commute Home” and the bubbly house jam “Create, Breathe, Analyze” (its title mantra reminiscent of an aerobics instructor's direction). It doesn't take much to fall under the sparkling spell of “Darkbells” either, especially when it underlies its radiant synth flourishes with a tasty, pulsating bass groove, and the club stomper “But Now I'm Looking Forward” finds Cardioid indulging in some Moog synthesizer moves that could make Chick Corea jealous. By comparison, “Slowdance,” which evokes the nostalgic image of high-school proms from long ago, is delivered with an open-hearted expressiveness (“Sitting by the fireplace at home / I want to grow old with you”) that'll have you recalling scenes from Pretty In Pink or some other John Hughes film. “Together” likewise exudes an effervescent quality that hints at the youthfulness of its creator.

Cardioid's certainly got ample tricks up his sleeve, and he's not short on imagination, either, as virtually every song overflows with ideas and melodies. High-quality production values are in full swing throughout, merry melodies and looney tunes abound in the twelve tracks, and a generous amount of stylistic ground is covered, too. But while he's got a good ear for distinctive sound detail, he might, in the future, want to pull back on the electronically altered vocals as otherwise perfectly fine examples of jaunty synth-pop like “It's Almost 3, I'm Trying To Fall Asleep,” “New Toy Syndrome (My Clock is Broken),” and “Exotic Puppy Dog” are cheapened by the effect.

June 2012