Even though I enjoy a few albums that rely pretty heavily on programming, and despite the fact that I actually own a drum machine, I don’t know much about electronic music. I’m just not all that familiar with the style.
So now that I’ve spent a good deal of time enjoying Tilian’s decidely electronica Material Me (as predicted here), I’m left with a question: do I like this album because it’s light and fast and catchy or do I like this album because it’s from a songwriter that I know and enjoy? (For the uninitiated, Tilian consists of one Tilian Pearson, a post-hardcore singer known mainly for his work with Tides of Man and Dance, Gavin, Dance.)
To mirror what’s become a recurring theme on this site, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. It’s totally possible that I would like electronica if I spent more time with it. And it’s equally possible that I enjoy this particular album because of my familiarity with the vocalist and songwriter. Ultimately, it’s probably a little bit of both.
It’s also worth noting that, for all its tecnno bluster, Material Me is really a pop record. This is no Skrillex knockoff. Songs are fast and melodic and crisp. A handful of the album’s songs even sound as if they may have been written with traditional rock band instruments in mind, only to be transitioned to programming later.
Fans of Tilian’s previous work will find that Pearon’s songwriting here is similar, albeit only in a structural sense. Don’t expect any shredding guitars on Material Me, although you do still get a few (electronica) breakdowns. The relatively simpler compositions also allow for more traditional (and therefore catchy) melodies, which works well within the pop stylings of the record.
In any case, I’d recommend Material Me. It’s not world-changing but Tilian is an excellent vocalist and he’s made a fun, dancy album. Sometimes that’s all you need.