May 1, 2008

Test Spin: Santogold

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Delightfully boisterous, the Brooklyn-via-Philadelphia band Santogold focuses a dizzying array of reggae-dub, groovy surf rock and buoyant pop melodies into a truly promising debut album. Led by front-woman Santi White’s shape-shifting vocals and bandmate John Hill’s scorching synthesizer play, Santogold does not linger in any single genre of music for too long — a scheme that works to stellar effect.
Santogold kicks off the album riding high on a wave of vibrant energy. Smooth palm-muted-riffs and a clash of drums and synthesizers on “L.E.S. Artistes” quickly segue into Pixies-styled surf rock on the next track, “You’ll Find A Way.” The album standout, “Lights Out,” is supported by down-stroke rhythms and White’s soaring vocals, culminating in a truly gorgeous chorus. Whether Santogold is ascending into spacey nebulous rhythms on the ethereal “Starstruck,” or singing over energetic dancehall beats on “Shove It,” the duo makes the effort to force nothing, seemingly at ease in any element, and, in the process, creates a refreshingly solid album.