Børns – ‘Dopamine’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

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A class mix of T-Rex’s Marc Bolan and indie-pop darlings Haim, glam artist Børns’ initial success with single “Electric Love” almost felt too easy. The extravagant video paired with his eccentric yet melodic voice was an immediate hit, leading to an unsettling feeling; can it get better than this? Full album Dopamine answers that question with a resounding hell yes. The synth-pop indie vibes of the 23 year old Michigan native mirrors the changing landscape of a musical revolution; the millennials are all grown up and looking for the next big thing, and that could be Børns.

Opening track “10,000 Emerald Pools” takes it slow, easing the listener into a state of vague delight with a tropical sensibility. “All I need is you”, he warbles, a theme we’ll come back to frequently throughout the rest of the album. Moving into “Dug My Heart” we get much of the same thing range wise, and lyrically speaking. However the music composition begins to shift, charging directly into his already well known “Electric Love”.

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The only real issue that seems to run amuck is the ordering of the album, the light start leading to “Electric Love” is again slowed back down with “American Money”, a heavier bass guitar driven track with a serious first verse. However, the song’s progression is agreeable, and by the time you hit the instrumental break it’s come back up to wave off any disinterest. Børns’ pop driven voice paired with the heavier rock roots of “American Money” is an indication of a barely scratched surface, something we’ll have to look forward to in the future.

The earlier comparison to Haim reigns heavy throughout his musical compositions and cadence. The female driven trio has a specific style, one that Børns seems to be closely in touch with. On the same hand, his nod to early glam rock is appreciated. He has a very unique voice, and his arts background gives him a creative drive mirrored in his music; rather than stick with what’s working he doesn’t seem to be afraid of a challenge.

Much of Dopamine is made up of previously released singles from his EP Candy. It’s smart marketing wise, he’s able to showcase new material while holding onto his following stemming from his already known songs. Though there’s a depth lacking in some of the songs lyrically speaking, it’s made up for with an overall consistent success coming from the instrumental side of things; pairing the classically considered rock instruments with an electric mix works for the band.

Title song “Dopamine” is overall unremarkable, but works well within the context of the rest of the album. Again, it feels like the order of things were lost in an attempt to space out the previously released singles. Since it’s the first album, it’s forgiven. Generally Dopamine is successful in its execution. Børns has proven himself buzz worthy, a feat he’ll be able to ride into his next album where we’ll ask the question, is he versatile? For now, the gratifying full length is welcomed, and laudable.

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