The 18-year-old's first mini-album is a colourful, groovy sophisticated experience. The high-quality production is incorporated in every single second of this best pop release of the year so far, even though the songwriting and vocals sometimes stumble.
Alfie Templeman is a new name in my Spotify library. He has already released some EPs and singles from this mini-album, but I can say he is still a new artist. Well, obviously as he is only 18 years old ... just a few months elder than me. Anyways, I discovered this album here, just like quite a lot of music this year. And definitely no regrets as it matches my style quite a lot.
It is hard to categorize this project exactly. It is definitely retrospective, but I am not sure which decade it takes more inspiration from; whether it is the 1970s or the 1980s. It takes the vibe from disco and funk, but next time it's new wave. One second, it is a pure pop record, then you can hear 1980s synthpop in it. Then it sounds like electronic rock bands from that time. But then like Tame Impala. Some things are sure though. It is so danceable and groovy, and its production is just at the highest level I've heard in a long time.
Some songs at Forever Isn't Long Enough even sound like 1980s classics. However, that does not mean it is a perfect record. Although I absolutely adore the way it is produced and played, the songwriting sometimes seems to be uninspired. Also, Alfie's vocals are not always super mindblowing, but honestly, I think that is just a thing to work on and a thing which can be improved with time, so I am definitely not scared of him losing at this point in the future. Lyrically, it is not anything revolutionary as well. Something about heartbreak, something about love etc. But well, it does not really matter. What else would be relatable for the Generation Z he is a part of.
"Shady" has a recognizable rock vibe, although it is really groovy. It is retrospective and makes me think of early 1980s. It is making me stand up and want to dance, although I think the vocals would still need some improvement, as they are the weakest element of the song compared to its wonderful production.
The change shifts closer towards disco-funk vibe at "Forever Isn't Long Enough" which reminds me of "The Less I Know The Better" by Tame Impala for its significant usage of guitars. Vocals are much better, although they could explode a little bit more at the chorus, perfect production and songwriting makes it really memorable.
The melody and vocals at "Hideaway" suffer a downfall as part of the album's flow. The song is, once again, producer really well, incorporating various pop rock and synthpop inflections which create a rich sound together, but it sounds written weirdly for me. The vocals really have nothing to show, sometimes it feels like he is rather speaking or cannot find the right notes.
"Wait, I Lied" is slightly better, but I still have similar issues: the melody is weirdly written, the vocals are rather underwhelming, but the song itself is produced so well. It attempts to sound entertaining, but it loses its appeal.
All the things improve at "Everybody's Gonna Love Somebody", the album's best song, which is one of my favourites on the album. It sounds like a classic, like something taken right from the 1980s and I absolutely love it. The production is not maximalist and too complicated unlike many tracks of this direction.
"Film Scene Daydream" is also a cute, disco-funk song with simple but relatable lyrics and wonderful production. Sometimes, it just feels like the chorus could lead into something more interesting than the predictable instrumental which follows it. Yet, it is one of my favourites.
"To You" sounds like a song which could be placed next to "Get Lucky" at Random Access Memories by Daft Punk. It is funky, and incorporates influences of both 1970s and the 1980s. It could be described as a disco bop, while it could be compared to the vibe "La Isla Bonita" by Madonna has. It is warm, wonderfully produced (just like the rest of the album), groovy and pleasantly sung.
The sudden transition into the psychedelic pop sound at "One More Day" is unexpected but within its track listing, the song's placement is totally logical. It has that typical "end of the party" placing. I prefer other tracks over this one, but there are weaker tracks as well.
This is my most favourite pop release of the year so far. I am really looking forward to his new releases in the future; maybe even for a full-length album ... if he would follow this direction and fix the minor issues it has, he could become one of the main faces of Gen Z musicians.
( 2021 | pop rock / new wave / nu-disco )
- Shady (8/10)
- Forever Isn't Long Enough (9/10)
- Hideaway (7/10)
- Wait, I Lied (7/10)
- Everybody's Gonna Love Somebody (10/10)
- Film Scene Daydream (9/10)
- To You (9/10)
- One More Day (8/10)
TOTAL SCORE: 84 / 100 (great)