Mind Enterprises, 2016

My love of slick pop-forms—either as singer-songwriters or synthpop—sometimes feels at odds with my current interests. At a very young age, I had the luck of falling for some evergreen artists that have persevered and continue to be well regarded—from Lloyd Cole to the Pet Shop Boys. Even if, in many ways, my aesthetic has moved on, it makes some sense that I still follow them all: they were my first loves.

Occasionally though, I find myself falling for new artists in those same modes. In cases like these, I find craft matters as much—maybe, even more—than art. Sure, they need a distinct and bold artistic personality, but when making music in such a well-defined mold, craft is a must. Making such familiar templates fresh again, you have to work those levers like a pro.

Idealist taps my synthpop vein. On this, Mind Enterprises sound like Vampire Weekend hiring Nile Rodgers to make their own Let's Dance. It's pure, rubbery sheen. Everything is so perfectly in its place, it's fascinating just to listen to the songs and watch the percussion percolate and each keyboard stab slot into its allotted location, contrapuntally. It may not prove as deathless as Depeche Mode, but it fits the bill.