By Bryony Holdsworth
The grandiose, lovelorn ballads of Garrett Clark Borns have returned, gracing the Michigan singer/songwriter’s second studio album with magnificent androgyny.
“Dopamine is released when you are longing for something, the desire of a reward- it’s the fantasy in your mind”. This chemical connection was a resounding theme throughout the artist’s debut album Dopamine, and it seems this lustful fantasy continues to be a source of inspiration. The LP opens with track ‘God Save Our Young Blood’, Garrett’s yearning falsetto dashing through the visual imagery. Lana Del Rey also features on this track but her vocals fail to make any lasting impression, their husky voices too alike to add any real choral depth.
Blue Madonna is moving into a more experimental musical field, with BØRNS playing with synthesisers and voice distortion in ‘I Don’t Want U Back’. The electronic fizz is playful and the vocal manipulation in the track’s opening strengthens his voice against the warped chorus. At times the lyricism lacks depth and is painfully lacklustre, particularly in the apocalyptic number ‘Man’. “If the world’s gonna end / I wanna be your friend / When the lights go dim / I wanna be your man”, BØRNS croons, but the lyrics need a greater exploration of creativity to really complement the sugary psychedelia.
The closing track ‘Bye-bye Darling’ continues to explore the all-encompassing themes of fantasy and lust – a common thread throughout the artist’s work. The soaring violins heighten the sense of sexual desire: “I’ll miss your touch / To flip you, crease you, lay underneath you, fall asleep to”, and the grand piano in the song’s opening is alluring and masterful- a climatic end to the show.
BØRNS continues to inject a glittering narrative into his second album release, each track layered with hazy romance and ethereal synth-pop. It’s truly beautiful.