- Heterotic's Love & Devotion might have been a response to the various '80s-referencing pop movements of the past decade. Its soft-focus re-imaginings of OMD, Fleetwood Mac and vintage house weren't so far from chillwave, and the duo have professed an admiration for the likes of Toro Y Moi. But compared to many young nostalgists, the music of Mike Paradinas and Lara Rix-Martin felt more richly textured, its influences more sensitively handled. A product, perhaps, of experience—Planet Mu boss Paradinas is a veteran producer—but also of the involvement of Warp singer Gravenhurst, who brought a downcast and distinctively British hue to four of the album's eight tracks.
Gravenhurst is absent on the album's follow-up single, replaced by the lesser-known Vezelay, whose fragile falsetto—last heard on his 2011 Lyre EP for Mu—cleaves much closer to the '00s bedroom-pop norm. His stargazing is a good match for this swooning synth ballad, and in some respects the results are lovely. But like many chillwavers, his delivery lacks conviction, a shortcoming that no digital processing can remedy. (Those who find the whole thing too frustrating might get along better with the instrumental mix.) The single is rounded off with a pair of nice-enough vocal-less numbers. "Problemo" is propelled by a slow-house beat and the distant diva wail that seems to have become Heterotic's signature; "The Tripods" is moody electro with a redemptive edge. Both are, in standard Heterotic style, eye-wateringly glossy, though they fall short of Love & Devotion's finest moments.
01. Rain feat. Vezelay
03. The Tripods
04. Rain (Instrumental)