The Australian pop ingénue caught my ear with “Roll with the Punches,” a tune that would be at home having a tea party with She and Him, Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor. The plucky vocal stylings of Spektor meets the faux vintage sound of She and Him while the exuberant arrangements of Michaelson cap the song. There are horns, strings and a choir. It is impossible to dislike, for real.
But, as is the case with many singles on straight pop albums these days, there’s nothing on “Two” that can match the exuberant blast of “Roll with the Punches,” much less top it. Second single “My Heart Skips a Beat” features Lenka’s vocals more prominently and the arrangement less than the first single. The tune is sleeker, and it’s a nice, mature offering.
The rest of “Two” splits time between the two camps. “Everything at Once” is a nice pared-down tune, featuring a relatively aggressive vocal performance (although not nearly as vicious as Spektor can get). “Shocked Me Into Love” is a foot-tapping, ‘80s-pool-party throwback that’s could hit mixtapes like crazy this summer. “End of the World” is one of the only tunes that re-uses the faux vintage that helped make “Roll with the Punches” rule, and as a result it’s a highlight. Other numbers show her in ballad mood or faux-disco mood, which doesn’t work as well as the other fake vintage sound she appropriates.
Buy “Roll with the Punches” from iTunes, stat, no matter who you are. If you like it a lot, move on to “My Heart Skips a Beat.” Proceed in this fashion until you dislike a track or you have completed the album, which comes out the 19th. No worries, though; even if you dislike it, it won’t ask too much of you. —Stephen Carradini