In today's world of aquacrunk, driftstep and gothgaze it's fairly rare that someone invokes the simple new-wave pop of The Police, but Dominican Republic-born George Lewis Junior notably does just that on "Run My Heart", running it past some classic Springsteen balladeering and mid-distance indie jangles to boot. Amid repeats of "Just a boy / Just a girl" it's clear that Lewis has nevertheless stuck to the same themes of sex and mishandling relationships that dominated his wistful, sometimes aptly indistinct debut Forget
Confess, on the other hand, is much surer of itself now that Lewis has cast himself as some leather-clad troublemaker - there's little chance however of him going that extra step and becoming the leader of the pack because the allure of the 80s still hangs so heavily over his every move that it's like he's bathed in Paco Rabanne. Undisputed album highlight, "Five Seconds" is, for example, pure unabashed pop that showcases punchy bass tempos pilfered from David Lynch, perfect synth hooks, popping drum sequences and more guitars ripped from the Boss.
There are echoes too of that diminutive lothario Prince in the satin smoothness of "You Call Me On" and "Beg For The Night" is all about a cruising bassline and stadium-sized drum blasts over which laser effects latterly play off against soaring guitar solos. Sweeping bass synths scan the nether regions of "Patient" like a searchlight as Lewis states that "Boys will be boys", dressing the fact with harsh snares and a peppering of guitar funk.
Lewis the would-be-swordsman isn't entirely irresistible though and he strikes out with several unremarkable cuts, also, along with Alt-J and Beach House's recent faux pas, falling foul of trying to resurrect the "hidden" track and its necessary intrusion of prefacing blank space - thankfully reward finally does come in the form of the clapping, crunching funk of "Mirror In The Dark".
Confess is a brash album full of period masculinity, but one not so mired in the past that it's a joke. The anachronistic undertow of the bass synth drone/pulse for example renders it as contemporary as the snare programming anchors it further back in time. A precarious blend in places, Confess is nevertheless excellent in others.