Album Reviews

Lou Hayter – Private Sunshine

(Skint) UK release date: 28 May 2021

Lou Hayter - Private Sunshine Appropriately for a week of skyrocketing temperatures, sometime New Young Pony Club member Lou Hayter’s new record is a summery collection of electronic pop, featuring catchy, melodious songwriting and effortlessly stylish production.

Private Sunshine opens with the track Cherry On Top, which fits nicely into the album’s aesthetic despite being first released three years ago. The chord sequence has an aimless, muzak quality to it that belies the strutting backbeat, but Hayter’s vocals are the beating heart underneath the vapourwave sheen (“riding to my stop / can’t wait to see you / you’re my cherry on top / all that sweet stuff / sip you through a straw / taste like honey / make the sun come out”).

Hayter’s singing style throughout the record is mannered, sweet and a little deadpan – reminiscent of Lindy Layton’s Just Be Good To Me – which is especially effective on the melancholy Still Dreaming, about a former relationship that lives on in her mind. Pinball bucks this trend by coming off surprisingly earnest, an account of day-to-day life aided by a baggy groove and crunchy electric piano.

While the Mr Fingers homage of This City is certainly very enjoyable, the prize for best track has to go to My Baby Just Cares For Me. A downsampled loop from Arvo’s So Deep provides the backdrop for an elegant topline, the instrumental cut, chopped and filtered at various points in classic plunderphonic fashion. Add a glitchy chipmunked refrain and the coda’s dramatic effects and you’ve got a sweet slab of new wave whose earworm only buries deeper with repeated listens.

The reference points may be rather conventional, and this record is just one of many electronic releases this year mining the styles of yesteryear, but Private Sunshine sticks out for its willingness to be quirky and its attention to detail.

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Lou Hayter – Private Sunshine