Music Reviews
Passive Me, Aggressive You

The Naked and Famous Passive Me, Aggressive You

(Somewhat Damaged) Rating - 8/10

You might not know it, but New Zealanders know how to make music. Passive Me, Aggressive You, the debut release from Auckland natives, The Naked and Famous is an album brimming with high energy, catchy pop-infused melodies. The combination of emotional anthems and fast paced, synthesized power ballads blend together to create a record that will keep you engaged from start to finish. The hazy, mix of dream pop and 80s teen angst isn’t anything new, but the band's take on it is at least refreshing.

Driven by powerhouse duo, Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith, these five musicians pack heart, intensity, and innovation into their debut. There seems to have been a clear decision made by the band not to add too much polish to their sound. Instead TN&F embrace the raw and gritty texture of their early tracks, which proves to be a smart approach. 

Spank is particularly furious and pounding, with the frenetic Xayalith, fueled by a feverish tempo, holding nothing back. She continues her manic vocals on the album's two singles, Young Blood and Punching in a Dream, one of the album's more overtly dance-pop numbers. The fast and punchy beats are relentless and the chorus arrives on the crest of a techno-esque hook that radiates throughout the song.

The band's dreamy electro pop grows organically as it blends with softer, more vulnerable tracks like The Sun and No Way, both of which are about the emotional rollercoaster of falling in and out of love. To match the mood, Powers and Xayalith transform their normally harsh vocals into a fluid crooning. Eyes, a summery pop track with an 80s feel, blends a pulsating beat with fuzzy guitar chords and sleepy vocals to create one of the finer tracks on the album.

Passive Me, Aggressive You is undoubtedly a pop album, and an impressive one at that. There's a nice blend of intensity and honesty here, which TH&F will do well to maintain in their future career.