Like a sweaty night in some post-apocalyptic, deep space night club, Whatever shifts from dreamy dirges (“Besides Me,” “Always Crashing in Your Car”) to sci-fi, new-wave hooks (“I’m Like You,” “Hot Hot Holiday”) over a series hushed, interstitials à la M83.
The duo hits its stride in dark but still bubbly pop tracks like “Fated to Like That” and “I’m Like You.” The entrancing former would slide in seamlessly onto a runway show between Grimes and Crystal Castles, while the former shimmers like any summery indie-pop track should.
Many of its songs are smart reinventions of past Chrome Pony releases, with “Welcome to Earth,” “Fated to Like That” and “We’re Going Out Tonight” making for welcomed — and more modern — updates to “Love in a Genocide,” “She’s Like a Metroid” and “Carry the Load,” respectively.
Chrome Pony had always had a revolving door policy in terms of nonessential personnel, but the more streamlined lineup is accompanied by a more streamlined sound, one that seems more in keeping with what Battles was probably imagining from the start. —Joshua Boydston