Ski Lodge is exactly what it sounds like––a band that transports the listener to a surreal, wintry place with layered alt-pop. The project of multi-instrumentalist Andrew Marr, its Euro-inspired music floats and bounces with vibrancy at a subtle dose. While it has a good bit of typical indie sounds, Big Heart is a dance-inducing club headliner with eighties influence to spare, but it won’t turn many heads when it’s not being blasted through venue speakers.
Marr seems to favor gentler melodies and airy instrumentals, as “You Can’t Just Stop Being Cruel” indicates. The song is a good representative of the work as a whole, a conglomeration of fifties malt shop and early 2000s Interpol. What Marr does, he does well. Its mellow mood doesn’t offend the ears but doesn’t leave anything spectacular in its wake. The whole album has a light feel to it, like whipped yogurt, a tasty but unsatisfying treat.
This is not to say that the record is bad. The closing “I Can’t Tell” could be on a Young the Giant album with its smooth-as-silk vocals and cloudy harmonies. Marr has a taste for glittery pop but prefers to water it down with trickles of new wave. The lead single “Just To Be Like You” abounds in guitars with reverb and vocals undoubtedly influenced by the Walkmen. Its almost beachy feel is pleasant and could easily be any tune played at a school dance in the JFK era. There is a carefreeness about Big Heart that betrays its era and takes the listener back to another time.
The record is a great example of its genre, but it comes off as a bit too bland to fully gratify a listener’s desires. The lyrics become another part of the underwhelming instruments until it all blends into a goop of notes. Every now and then there’s a nice surprise of harmonies, but for the most part it’s an extremely predictable album full of next-gen Joy Division-inspired songs.