Loney Dear’s second LP serves as a reminder that, despite myriad ups and downs, synth pop remains a vital genre. Dear John combines crisp, effervescent arrangements with lyrical hooks. The synthesized oscillations and punchy bass lines of “Airport Surroundings” and “Violent” are both well-crafted and headily visceral. The high level of clarity and production values belies the notion that home-recording necessitates a ‘lo-fi’ aesthetic.
While Loney Dear (Emil Svanängen) capably evokes melancholy inflections – as on the affecting “Harsh Words” – this is hardly downtempo IDM. Instead, he has created an all too rare synergy between sophisticated electronica and the concision and appealing sweep of good pop singles. Even songs such as the title track and “Harm,” where the atmosphere is more spacious and the textures more varied, still keep the continuity of the vocal lines, and their achingly delicate traversal of poignantly spun elegies, as the foremost concern.