Vittoria Fleet: Greed

In the promotional text accompanying Vittoria Fleet's sophomore album Greed, the Berlin-based group is described as an “avant-electronica duo.” It's not entirely off-the-mark—the pairing of Allan Shotter and Giada Zerbo obviously constitutes a duo—but a better description might simply be “electronic pop outfit.” Including “avant” in the label isn't totally misleading as there is definitely an experimental edge to Greed's music, but the duo's songs are a whole lot more radio-friendly and accessible than such a term implies. In fact, to a far greater degree than your typical n5MD release, many of the album's songs would sound perfectly well at home on any number of radio playlists.

Vittoria Fleet came together, by the way, in Hackney Wick, London in 2009, with Shotter and Zerbo releasing the Kissing Cousins EP two years later and then migrating to Berlin. A two-year period of hibernation eventually led to the release of Acht in early 2014 and a year on from that the follow-up Greed.

As the aggressive, high-intensity opener “Mother Ocean” confirms, Shotter and Zerbo are anything but shrinking violets. After an explosive opening salvo, the music settles down, its synthesizer-heavy pulsations and Zerbo's hushed vocal offering the first sampling of Vittoria Fleet's trademark futurama. As dynamic is the deep electro-shuffle that jumpstarts “The Shape of Things to Come,” and don't be surprised if, here and elsewhere, your attempt to focus on the lyrics is sidelined by the glossiness of the music: Zerbo could be singing about doing the laundry for all it matters when the band's sound is so vibrant. For the record, her breathy voice—never more alluring than on “Vampira”—is pretty much the only analog element in the band's mix, with, so far as I can tell, the songs' icy beats, bass lines, and melodies all machine-generated.

The album's not without an experimental side—the synthesizer treatments in “Wild Horse” are unusual enough that the track becomes more electronica exercise than synth-pop song, and the album also includes some swirling, vocal-free vignettes—but Greed never strays so far into avant territory that it sacrifices its electro-pop character. In a more perfect world, epic tunes like “Brute” and “Like Glue” would be blasting from the car radio as you tool down the motorway at midnight, and one need look no further than the subtly funky title track for a rock-solid argument for the project.

February 2016