Off the radar for over two years since their last release, altopalo return to the fold with a double single that shows off just how far the heady pop quartet has gone in reinventing themselves. Before their hibernation, the band seemed animated by a different energy. The songs seemed to be in a constant state of eruption, tossing and turning with frantic eagerness to charge into the next stunning passage; theatrically bold, with a futuristic edge, their concoctions played like a youthful attempt to satisfy every sonic urge all at once. As thrilling as the productions were, consistency in mood was never a strong suit.
If their earlier songs cruised on a caffeinated rush, these new singles are the long-anticipated crash into calmer waters. “Blur” beeps to life, gliding in on soft synths and cocooning vocalist Rahm Silverglade in a soundscape awash in aquatic glitches—it’s as if the band is quite literally coming back online. Silverglade’s lyrics paint a grim, post-apocalyptic picture of a relationship gone awry, begging to be taken back while admitting that “it takes a little more than time” and selling it with his strongest pop delivery to date. The band uses complete silences to tremendous effect, receding completely before each emotional revelation and surging back in with a slinky R&B groove to take it into a despairing, finger-picked coda.
“Frozen Away” is cut from the same cloth, but probes deeper into the darkness. “Blur” dealt with the immediate aftermath, the bargaining and frustration of being cut loose from love. “Frozen Away” comes through like a fast-forward, lurching into the full-fledged despair of realizing that “we fucked it all up, and sold it away,” that things are too far gone to be repaired. Chiming electric piano smears with reverb against his voice, building to an anti-climax where the bumping beat slowly dissolves into the distance as the fade out chokes Silverglade’s voice. The resolution and, unfortunately, the full release of altopalo’s comeback record are far from here, but these slices of solitude will tide you over until the snow melts.