Music sometimes finds you at an essential level, encouraging such truisms as, “It just feels right.” On their debut, And the Boom, Iglu & Hartley show an ability to elicit such a feeling, which at least tempers the album’s overall mediocrity. Which is to say, its pop techniques are effective.
And the Boom, which bombed U.K. charts last year, could feel so good because its sound is comfortingly derivative of Police and Phil Collins-era Genesis. But if white-boy rap and new-wave posturing are deal breakers for you, you may respond the same way NME did last year: “Are you grasping your arms around chief rap goon Jarvis Anderson’s baby-oiled six-pack, the jaws of credibility snapping at your feet, or tuning out in utter revulsion?” Well, the complexity of the human experience means you can do both. It’s true that most of these songs fall into the already bloated musical genre of mediocore — very, incredibly, groundbreakingly, extremely OK. But a few of them — “Violent and Young,” “In This City,” “Out There” — are what pop music is at its best: brimming with lowbrow intelligence that coalesces into choruses so consonant and true-blue that they stop conversation.