- Death Cab for Cutie
Combining elements of the two schools involves a delicate balancing act. Modern dream-pop bands can be passionate, but few sport the lyrical earnestness of 1990s-era emo bands. The British duo Let’s Eat Grandma offers the best such example in its second album I’m All Ears (Transgressive). Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth distinguish themselves from other UK electro-emo duos like Trailer Trash Tracys through the sheer originality of their arrangements. It’s not enough to wail through electronic ambience; Let’s Eat Grandma recognizes you have to craft memorable songs like “Donnie Darko,” too.
There’s also the danger in weaving the two styles with an excess of pop in the mix. Lauren Mayberry of the Glasgow band Chvrches honestly intended to bring her music to a wider audience. The 13 tracks comprising Love Is Dead (Glassnote/Goodbye Records) represent a distillation of Chvrches’ best themes, but the lyrics too often rely on repeated phrases lacking Mayberry’s strongest convictions. If the new emo/electronica sound is to gain a wider audience, it will be due to old masters like Death Cab showing the way.