With a saturation of ‘80s synthwave revivalists, it’s easy to forget TOPS were there earlier than most. But on fourth album ‘I Feel Alive’, it’s obvious they’re well-practiced at the craft, conjuring up 35 minutes of their trademark melancholy. It’s also an album of firsts for them - newly added keyboard player Marta Cikojevic adds a vital new layer. This in turn frees up vocalist Jane Penny to add a couple of flute solos on the record, which is a pleasant surprise. In fact, it’s the broadness of flavour on the album that is its main strength. The sparse, chilling layers of ‘Ballads and Sad Movies’, or the Joni Mitchell-esque delivery of ‘Take Down’ really show the broadness TOPS are capable of. On top of this, Jane’s vocal is remarkable throughout, ranging from the fragility of Lana Del Rey to the power of Kate Bush. An album with some undeniable gems but perhaps a few too many soft-rock fillers, ‘I Feel Alive’ delivers a genuinely refreshing take on melancholy.
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It’s taken from their latest album ‘Sugar at the Gate’.
The clip for the ‘Sugar At The Gate’ highlight has been directed by the band’s Jane Penny.
They’re happy to stay in the little niche that they’ve carved out.
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