Establishing an intergalactic theme with an abundance of synth, Capital Cities’ second album Solarize lives up to its name, but fails to offer the same catchiness as its predecessor.

Having started off writing jingles together, the duo behind Capital Cities, Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian, are quite experienced in what makes a catchy hit.

Their debut album, In A Tidal Wave of Mystery, came packed with them. Bubbly, upbeat electronica mixed with the occasional flair of saxophone defined the duo as an inventive pop funk group – their collaboration with André 3000, Farrah Fawcett Hair, fully demonstrating their creative abilities.

Fast forward to their sophomore album, and it’s clear that the pair wanted to strike a slightly different tone to their next release. Out goes the vibrant, punchy grooves, in comes a slightly stripped-back and chilled vibe – save for the track Vowels, which is a refreshing look back at a style almost non-existent on the album.

The only other place on the record where one can expect to find something familiar is on the track, Gatekeeper Julie. Like Farrah Fawcett Hair, the track is full of spoken lines, but this feels more like a distant relative of the hit, with the constant voice interruptions sounding like a friend repeatedly talking over that song you like which is playing on the radio.

This is only one of a handful of songs which are new on the album, with most either being singles or from an EP released previously. As for what remains, nothing really stands out.

While the change in style on Solarize is to be respected, the quieter sound comes at the expense of catchier, vibrant melodies.

Rating: 3/5