"Breathe" (EP, 2013)
The titular song from this second release from the 'men of orange' debuted at last year's Infest festival. I fell for it in an instant and immediately installed it as my favourite Spacebuoy track. It is perhaps more sober than their sometimes idiosyncratic presentation or delivery might imply. It's been a long wait to hear the recorded version and it only confirms my opinion. As a piece of dance-tinged but shadowy pop-song writing it does everything one wants. The recorded incarnation tempers the more forceful delivery heard at Infest. Here the vocals are noticeably more measured and the bass of the live version less in your face. But those soaring chord changes and totally infectious chorus remain firmly intact. Like the most robust songs of any band, Breathe would lend itself perfectly to various interpretations had others had the opportunity to remix it. (A remixed version of their first EP has just been released – so perhaps it is in the works.)
Second track Cassiopeia works well alongside Breathe. It extends the reflective, thoughtful side to Spacebuoy's writing, proving that there's more behind this duo than simply reflecting back those they admire. It stood out for me when I first heard it live, but in the studio version we get to hear more of the production detail, making this another compelling proposition. It opens with one of the best examples of their lyrics: “Graffitii kisses rain down from the nuclear sky. The A-Bomb shatters, shadows in my eye. She breathes like she's under water. Afraid for life, afraid of silence. I prayed for you, I'm so confused”. These on top of emotional composition that emanates pure melancholia, and you can't help but recall Marian Gold's priceless lyrical work for Alphaville's glorious first album of emotion-drenched pop.
However, those who like Spacebuoy for their more quirky, up-beat synthpop need not panic. Flames serves up the style that the band are perhaps best known for, but are gradually evolving from. Whilst Look To Die For follows suit, bouncing along a pulsating bass sequencer. There's plenty to admire and recommend in these fifteen minutes. Come on men of orange, pull a remix kit together and let's get some diverse interpretations of the terrific Breathe. 7/10
Rob Dyer (July 2013)