Another buzz band tossed aboard the hype machine by the BBC's Sound of 2011 poll, New Zealand's The Naked & Famous are one of the few worth getting genuinely excited about. The reason is simple. Their music is out and out fun, jam packed with catchy melodies, twinkling synths and danceable beats, and yet they veil it in just enough noise to remind you they're a band with an attitude.
That this five piece Auckland outfit is really the brainchild of Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith is clear immediately, as their boy/girl vocals are the dominant force in this predominantly upbeat alternative pop. The singles here easily outshine most of what makes the charts these days, the metallic electronics and solid rhythm of 'Young Blood' utterly invigorating, while the pulsating bass and contagious hook of 'Punching In A Dream' somehow sound like MGMT minus the hipster pretension.
But there's more to The Naked & Famous than synth-infused pop tunes, as proven by the bitter and rage-fuelled vocals of 'Jilted Lovers' or the rhythmic feedback of 'A Wolf In Geek's Clothing'. At the other end of the scale are the delicate and feminine tones than open 'No Way', led by simple acoustic guitar and soft harmonies until it erupts into bursts of shoegaze style distortion and hazy reverb.
Whether The Naked & Famous can achieve the mainstream success that 'Passive Me, Aggressive You' merits remains to be seen, but they're certainly hitting all the right notes.