The early-'80s movement known as new romanticism got its name in part because of its fixation on grandeur -- the electrified hooks sounded impossibly huge, but the heartbreak and yearning embedded within somehow loomed even larger. The Brooklyn pop outfit St. Lucia's second album takes those big ideas, pumps them full of synths and drama, and adds a few 21st-century flourishes. The result is a record that grabs its listener by the hand from the opening squiggle of "Do You Remember" and doesn't let go until the drone that closes the twinkling "Always" finally fades. St. Lucia mastermind Jean-Philip Grobler sings with enough force to make even the simplest declaration sound like a plea from the bottom of his heart, adding gravitas to "Dancing on Glass" and the punchy "The Winds of Change." St. Lucia's splendid synth-pop allure has instant pop catchiness, but Grobler's willingness to wear his lyrics' romantic motivations like a badge of honor gives Matter a thrilling extra jolt.
This story originally appeared in the Feb. 13 issue of Billboard.