St. Lucia, a synth-pop band led by husband-and-wife duo half-Taiwanese Patti Beranek and South Africa-born Jean-Philip Grobler has arrived with their long awaited fourth studio album ‘Utopia’ via Nettwerk. To accompany the album release, St. Lucia have also dropped a video for “Gimme The Night”, where director Nicole Lipp’s vision comes to life, starring model Ireland Basinger Baldwin.
Equal parts colourful disco, 70’s funk, and 80’s pop, ‘Utopia’ is a luminous palette of synths, pulsating with vibrant sonics that have come to characterize St. Lucia’s genre-defying career. Inspired by everyone from David Bowie, The Weeknd, Daft Punk, and Parcels, St. Lucia enlisted the mixing talents of trusted collaborator Chris Zane (Passion Pit, The Walkmen) to help steer the sonically sparkling ship to greater heights.
When referring to ‘Utopia’, frontman Jean-Philip expresses, “Our vision for ‘Utopia,’ that only emerged as we were working on it, was to make an album that was the antidote to the last few crazy years, while also acknowledging what we collectively went through. We could have just made a sad record. We could have pretended we were happy the whole time. But both of those would’ve been a lie. What we went through was one of the most extreme periods of our lives: extreme isolation, extreme intimacy, extreme sadness and, at times, moments of extreme elation and joy when reunited with loved ones. We needed to somehow process the ambiguity of that experience, and the making of ‘Utopia’ was our therapist.”
In “Gimme The Night”, glistening synths warble beneath Grobler’s glassy vocals. The track swiftly picks up the pace with a shimmering disco-style chant and serves as an anthem for those still clinging onto summertime excitement. “When we were doing a lot of DJ sets, I was watching what people would respond to when they’re on the dancefloor. In the back of my mind, I wanted to make music that spoke that language,” shares Grobler. “Lyrically, ‘Gimme The Night’ is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the lifestyle of influencer culture, which we lived at different points. Being in a band, you’re flying all over the place. Everyone thinks it’s a totally glamorous life on social media. It’s glamorous sometimes, but most of the time, it’s not the jet-set life you imagine.”
The “Gimme The Night” music video features Ireland Basinger Baldwin barricading herself in a local convenience store as she escapes from the relentless paparazzi. There, she meets the clerk, played by Jetta Juriansz, and the two drink and dance the night away together before the paparazzi join in on the fun.
Grobler goes into greater detail on the vision behind the music video by sharing this, “We love videos that have a poignant message wrapped up in something seemingly not so poignant. Here we have a parable of fame and how it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, with the role of the young starlet being played by our good friend, Ireland Basinger Baldwin, who, due to her celebrity status, is well accustomed to this song’s message. The video also has a cameo from our friend and frequent collaborator, Andrè Allen Anjos, aka RAC. Because if one synth-pop artist can’t make it to their video shoot, you should stick another one in there instead.”
Leading up to the release of ‘Utopia’, St. Lucia shared their singles,“Take Me Away”, “Hey Now”, and “Touch”.“Take Me Away” bops along on claps and a falsetto hum with uncontainable energy and a twist of trip-hop production. Its core message depicting how to deal with depression and mental health is enhanced by a colourful fusion of synth-pop, yacht rock, and electronica. With an emphasis on productivity and pop purity, the track was inspired by the chill-out music scenes from the late 90’s and early 2000’s, influenced by artists such as Bent, Zero 7, and a few Café Del Mar compilation records.
Driven by elegant arrangements and warm synths, the emotionally charged “Hey Now”transmits an uplifting reminder in the resounding chorus, “Hey now, well it only takes a second fall, but it only takes a minute to start over again.” Thematically, the song is about getting knocked down, but no matter the situation you must find a way to stand up again. “Hey Now” serves as an ode to never giving up despite all odds.
“Touch”glides out of the gate on buoyant keys and a head-nodding bass line as the refrain reaches for ecstatic yacht rock. The track was complemented with a mirthful, 80’s pop culture style music video directed by Nicole Lipp that features LGBTQ+ dancer/actor, Liv Mai, along with Canyon Carballosa, an inspiring advocate and member for both the LGBTQ+ and autism communities.
‘Utopia’ Track List:
2. Separate World
3. Another Lifetime
4. Rocket On My Feet
5. The Golden Age
7. Take Me Away
9. Gimme The Night
13. Hey Now