If you like your dance pop to come with left turns and cowbell, you’re going to love Scary Times.
What starts out as something that sounds like it’s going to be a simple exploration of melody and texture over a simple repeating four chord progression becomes oh-so-much more! Wind-chimes and the aforementioned cowbell get a workout at the start before the atmospheric lyrics welcome us to Scary Times.
Each time the chorus comes around, its simple, insistent melody drills into your memory, floating above a Björk-like set of rhythmic patterns that seemingly arrive out of nowhere.
Then we get a post-chorus sequence that offers us a brilliantly off-kilter discordant, syncopated, rapid-fire riff that demands attention, and the reverb-heavy vocal, softly sung in English with an intriguing foreign twang (sounding like a chilled-out Morten Harket from a-ha) also draws the listener further in. Somehow, the accent infers extra sophistication, and the dance-heavy bass pattern makes the toes start to tap.
The second verse pattern introduces pan-pipe-like samples and the arrangement ups the ante in terms of movement and interest. Tuned percussive runs add to the swimming, shifting sonic canvas.
Instruments, their effects and a hypnotic, insistent drone note (that sounds like it might have been conjured by capturing the sound of someone running a wet finger around the rim of a crystal wine glass) receive hard panning in a mix which cleverly retains interest by changing things up as it progresses.
This is a classy and intricate slice of pop that we should all get our ears around.