Published May 27, 2013What is it?
A slick, expensive studio-produced style of pop heavy on the brass, synthesizers, smooth vocals and sharp, fitted suits. Influences range from the Doobie Brothers' yacht rock, Steely Dan's jazz/pop fusion, and virtually everything by David Bowie and Bryan Ferry from the '80s to now.
Who's doing it?
Originated in the early '80s out of the new wave movement by artists like ABC, Everything But the Girl, the Style Council and Prefab Sprout, it expanded into adult contemporary and quiet storm, thanks to chart-toppers Simply Red and Sade, respectively. The refined, clean production of Saint Etienne, Phoenix and Jessie Ware (Pictured) have resurrected the term.
Where to start?
Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and Jessie Ware's Devotion are benchmarks from the last few years. Also check out Afar, the debut by the Pains of Being Pure At Heart side-project Ice Choir.
This year has seen a number of acclaimed, sophisti-pop-leaning releases like Rhye's Woman, Phoenix's Bankrupt!, inc.'s no world and Vondelpark's Seabed.