New Politics release full-length ‘Lost in Translation’

New Politics
Lost in Translation

Warner Bros. Records · October 6, 2017

3.5 Stars


After two years, New Politics are back with their fourth studio album Lost in Translation. Following the early releases of five of the ten songs on the album, I was skeptical as to what New Politics was trying to accomplish. The songs seemed dissonant in regards to one another, and it was hard to figure out what the intended message was. However, after hearing the album in its entirety, the message of unity and self-acceptance was clear.

The album begins with ‘CIA’, an upbeat number that is a strong example of the music New Politics is known for. This song was made for live performances and felt incomplete without front man David Boyd bouncing around on stage.

The band wastes no time getting to their single ‘One of Us’.  The song is the anchor of the album through its discussion of identity and self-acceptance. Their message is delivered throughout the album with ‘Madeleine’ and ‘Istanbul’. ‘Madeleine’ focuses on self-love and acceptance with lyrics like “You gotta love yourself before you love somebody”. All three of these songs feature the vocals of guitarist Søren Hansen, along with ‘Lifeboat’ and ‘Clouds’. This shows how the band has changed, since up until now Hansen was only used as a supporting vocalist.

Another first on this album is the use of a featured artist on a song. Rivers Cuomo of Weezer collaborated on the third song ‘Tell Your Dad’, and as exciting as it was to see Cuomo and New Politics work together, it was an underwhelming addition. If Cuomo’s name wasn’t listed in the title, I wouldn’t have noticed there was a new voice in the song.

Many of these songs were clearly written for live performances. ‘Color Green’ and ‘Lifted’ are prime examples of this. They are powerful emotionally in terms of the lyrics, and they exude confidence through the upbeat energy.

Lost in Translation brings in new elements to New Politics’ body of work, while still maintaining the essence of who they are as artists. For example, the song ‘Lifeboat’ is more grungy and hardcore in its instrumentation, which is reminiscent of their self-titled debut album. ‘Lifeboat’ also references the idea of self-reflection. If this song were to be on an earlier album it may have had a darker tone. Instead, New Politics use of this song, which is about feeling trapped in a relationship, shines a light on recognizing the situation instead of wallowing in the experience.

To complement the high energy beginning of the album, New Politics ends with ‘Clouds’. Another Søren solo, the song ties the album together beautifully. There are soft elements in the use of the piano, but the energy is maintained by Louis Vecchio’s drum skills.

Overall, I think this album represents a solid return for New Politics. My favorite song on the album is ‘East Coast Thrilla’. The song has a laid-back vibe with the instrumentals but still holds a lot of weight. In this song and all of the others, New Politics’ message, inspirations, and dedication to the album are clear. Too often musicians create music they think people want to hear instead of the music they’re inspired to create, but New Politics managed to do both by taking risks without straying too far from their musical identity.

Listen to Lost in Translation here:

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