When The Night: island sounds for the autumn chill
Jean-Philip Grobler, aka St Lucia, began his musical career singing in the Drakensberg Boys Choir. The choir toured the globe, and his debut album, When The Night, bears the trace of this musical wanderlust.
Against a backdrop of 80s synth-pop, he channels all of his influences into a sound that feels altogether tropical – putting one in mind of late nights spent on Caribbean sands.
Album opener, ‘The Night Comes Again’, is built up of ethereal, reverb-soaked vocals and pulsing synths. ‘The Way You Remember Me’ then digs into more 80s and 90s sounds, blending Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and The Cure’s ‘Friday, I’m In Love’ before exploding into a soaring saxophone solo.
Elsewhere, he takes on more cheesy textures to mixed effect. The euphoric ‘Elevate’ sounds like incidental music for Made In Chelsea, in a good way, while the airy guitar-sounding synth of ‘All Eyes On You’ is reminiscent of All Saints’ ‘Pure Shores’, in a very, very bad way.
After a sluggish middle-section, comes the LP’s highpoint: ‘Too Point’, driven by a blipping arpeggiator and driving percussion, is a seven-minute pop masterpiece.
In all, Grobler melds his influences well into a breezy, summery sound. It can get a little samey, and the tropical theme a little too laboured; certain songs shine, while others are rather forgettable. Still, as autumn closes in, When The Night will definitely put a spring in your step.
Alim Kheraj is currently interning at spiked.
Watch the video for ‘Elevate’