A hit 'n' miss affair peppered with moments of joy...

Embarking on their fourth LP, TOPS have found their calling with their most crisp album to date. Packed with glistening melodies, squeaky clean vintage pop and yearning lyrics, the Montreal quartet are not holding back.

‘Direct Sunlight’ is a shimmering opener making the most of Jane Penney’s warm vocals and their throwback sound. Title track ‘I Feel Alive’ is pure sophisti-pop, blending charming retro textures with soft-rock grooves to a build a short but sweet follow up.

‘Pirouette’ takes full advantage of Penney’s hushed soprano showcasing what the band does best with tidy guitar hooks set against a colourful rhythmic beat. Although what starts off as a winning track is quickly undone by the song’s sluggish melodies which string you along until you hit a semi-satisfying chorus.

‘Colder & Closer’ quickly follows perking up the track list with a delightful dose of energetic synth married with dreamy vocals and playful lyrics. The album soon closes out with ‘Too Much’; a delicate slow burn offering a gratifying end to a mixed album.

'I Feel Alive' is bursting with soaring pop melodies, 80s retro nostalgia and undeniably catchy guitar hooks, but it’s a project which struggles to gain momentum. Beneath its whimsical summery palette, lurks a repetitive sound that dulls the vibrant texture the lineup promises. In short, it’s an album that’s halfway there.


Words: Zoya Raza-Sheikh

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