The Scottish pop band's 4th album. The title come from how they made this album remotely during the pandemic. It picks up where they left off at first and then goes in more interesting places as the album progresses. Mayberry may not employ a great deal of new tools in her arsenal, apart from production tricks , but continues to sharpen what she has been doing. Her growth comes more in the form of her lyrics. This is much more noted in the second song. The plays around with auto tune on her vocals but uses it the way a guitarist uses effects rather than relying on it to hit notes. "California" doubles back on musical themes that seem familiar. It is a case of a band respecting their sound and not trying to fix what is not broken.
The high light of this album is the fact guitar has begun to play a more crucial role in the songs. This gives everything a more organic sound. For some reason the only song that doesn't connect with me , is "Violent Delights" . The drums sound is interesting. There is guitar, it might be too upbeat. I am not sure what is not clicking. "How Not to Drown" might not just be the album's best song, but one of the year's best songs. It also features Robert Smith, so that doesn't hurt. The ways the beat drives and how her voice rides it is perfect. Smith's voice sounds great and gives me hope for the next Cure, album, but even if he was not on this track I would like it. I read some snippets online where they are trying to call this the band's horror album because "Final Girl' uses the female victim's role as a metaphor for other things, This does carry over into the song after to some extent, there is much moiré to the sing. The bass line and guitars make it more than the few lines that refer to horror' movies in an abstract way.
The 80s reverb to the drum programming to "Lullabies" is the only thing that draws it away from sounding organic and giving it a more pop sound. The song is mainly held together with piano and guitar . The bass line on the verse could be more post-punk if higher in the mix. Mayberry is more of the sugar coating to this song. "Nightmares" gives "How Not to Drown" a close run for being the album's best song, I think the hook to the latter wins out thought "Nightmares" is more musically complex and at one point has an industrial strength guitar tone. Speaking of guitar, it is one of the predominant instruments in the last song. I will go ahead and round this one up to a 10 as it is still growing on me and finds the band growing in the right direction.