Garret Borns - he who is BØRNS - was a professional magician by the age of ten. This alone is a factoid to astonish; after all the trade relies on deceit, sleight-of-hand and good old flim flam, all qualities you assume not so prevalent in the mind of a pre-teenager. Now resident in an LA treehouse after growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, the singer writes candy-coated songs which have the sun on their backs, a past as a former student of jazz occasionally surfacing amongst the more obvious references to his adopted home.
His début album, Dopamine is uncomplicated but delicately layered, showcasing a slightly androgynous falsetto and a clutch of influences similar to those of both Broken Bells and Yeasayer at their most playful. The endless sun of his new address holds sway over the scrambled retro funk of the title track, it's object being pursued for a metaphorical narcotic effect of Cupid's arrow whilst synth hooks and call and response chanted harmonies fall over themselves in admiration. Former single Electric Love is even less ambiguous, locked into a gritty, glam-lite guitar riff but with wispy, ephemeral melodies that flow gracefully: it's superlative pop, an intuitive gift for the art form and all of its heart warming intricacies you'd expect in someone far more grizzled and savant.
Scholars don't always make great music of course, so it's reassuring that Borns is prepared to take the odd liberty here and there: opener 10,000 Emerald Pools' cod-Reggae chops and trilling ooohs shouldn't work, but provided you can leave your prejudices to one side, the water's fine. Being awkward, Dopamine's biggest flaw is that a writer who so obviously understands which way up a song goes is so conservative, albeit that within his own fairly narrow boundaries (Wanting to be in love, being in love, in fact just generally love, my love) he hits bullseye after bullseye. This acknowledged, American Money's dream state is fortune favouring the less brave, whilst the more desultory Clouds is almost naked by comparison, snare and bass drums thudding like disquietedly abandoned buildings over a barely played riff, as the subject nervously stalks a figment of their dreams.
Continue reading: Borns - Dopamine Album Review
Which are the best venues to visit this SXSW?
SXSW 2015 is set to take over Austin, Texas for yet another spectacular event, spanning numerous venues with countless showcases and hundreds of artists. We may be a few weeks away yet, but here's a little taster of some of the best places to be this year.
First up, the Parish is hosting some seminal shows all week, so this should definitely be at the top of your schedule. Wednesday, March 18th sees alt rock Londoners Wolf Alice on the bill, impressing with material from their EP releases; though we are yet to see an album release from these four. Equally, LA newcomers BØRNS are not to be missed, nor are San Diego indie favourites Delta Spirit. Thursday sees The Vaccines promote their upcoming album 'English Graffiti', alongside Palma Violets with 'Danger In The Club', while New York's Lolawolf brings their brand of sensational disco pop to the scene. Friday will be headlined by the Jarman brothers' band The Cribs, and Saturday will see appropriate surf-rock from Florida four-piece Surfer Blood.
Borns will perform at the Parish on Wednesday, March 18th 2015
Continue reading: 5 Venues You'll Want To Visit At SXSW 2015