Van She certainly have some ideas on how to surf happiness in the form of audio waves. This, their second long-player, is smooth edged dance-pop with a constant dosage of feel-good vibes flowing through its circuitry.
At their best, Van She display an icy funk edge within their disco rhythms – Sarah is like Phoenix on the club’s dancefloor. The title track runs on bubbly synth lines like an 80’s ballooned pop-anthem – it won’t fail to capture you off-guard. Another instant high is Jamaica; the reverb vocal wail in the chorus starts to drip a more human side into the Australian group’s shimmering, fluorescent machinery.
Yet there is a feeling for much of the record that this instantaneous rush might not last. While all its arpeggios and bending analogues tick many of the required boxes, the hooks aren’t always strong enough, and feel diluted by the cool exterior.
The inclusion of the Caribbean cruising Coconuts doesn’t really help matters. It sounds like a karaoke track – there must have been a vocal in there once upon a time? Another instrumental, Radio Waves II, isn’t much better, just another unnecessary embellishment on the Van She summer trip.
Thankfully the late-night drive home as the alcohol wears off is picture perfect on album closer We Move On. A touch of serious melancholy ties up the loose ends and fades the endless smiles, giving a little weight to Idea of Happiness and reminding us these guys can work on different levels if need be. This might be your party soundtrack this weekend: I’m just not sure about the weekend after.