- Sydney quartet Retiree's only previous record, a self-titled EP for the Plastic World label, was a five-tracker of lush synth pop that hinted at both creative depth and good connections, with remixes from Andras Fox and Suzanne Kraft. The press info for its follow-up, This Place, casually mentions Arthur Russell alongside a couple of other names. Appropriately, it's difficult to dislodge Russell from your mind at any point during This Place, from the moment "Gundagai"'s glowing piano notes kick in to when the closing title track evokes "Get Around To It."
The vocal intonations on This Place are among many points of similarity with the late New York artist's work, and opener "Gundagai" is the record's clearest example. The rhythm of the singer's undulating notes pretty much replicates that of Russell. However, "Gundagai" is also the first sign that the EP is going to be hard not to like, with its charming guitar and synth cascades and glimmering bass creating a beautiful background scene. "Heard You're Doing Well" is as slow and thoughtful as its title suggests, a deliberate pattern of keys and drums setting up for mournful brass and vocals to murmur in the foreground. The title track comes last and raises the energy levels again, adding an extra coat of synth-pop sheen to the vocals and echoing guitars. Sure, This Place is a touch derivative, but Retiree pull this sound off with skill and charm.
B1 Heard You're Doing Well
B2 This Place