If the name Bag Raiders doesn’t automatically ring a bell, one quick search of the song “Shooting Stars” will conjure laughs from every meme fan out there. The track, which debuted in 2009, went viral several years later for appearing in many the meme, one of my favorites of recent years. Fast forward to 2019, a full decade since the track premiered and nearly that long since the duo’s debut full-length LP. Much has changed over time, and now the Aussie natives have finally debuted their highly-anticipated sophomore album, Horizons.
According to the band, the album was “conceived, written and recorded all over the world, through our travels.” The depth and diversity across the record certainly shows. The ethereal intro of “Faraway” sets the tone for the rest of the album, as a myriad of synth waves and various sounds evolve into a piano-drenched beat. Members Jack Glass and Chris Stacey flex their vocal harmonies on this one, as well as their production prowess all over the album. Songs seem to drift and float along with danceable beats as waves of synth and electro flourishes grace the tracks with ease. This is evident on the single “How Long” featuring indie-electro artist Panama’s characteristic airy vocals. “Back to Myself” with Aussie group Tora showcases a drum and bass-style beat and gorgeous piano riffs throughout, and standout “Medicine” features a deep, four-on-the-floor house beat that becomes more involved and intricate as the song progresses.
Again here, Bag Raiders shows their affinity for writing electronic anthems. The Kite String Tangle-assisted “Lightning” is bound to be the next festival staple, while the closer “In This Life” is simple in its lyrical content, yet packs an emotional punch with a pulsating beat, more great piano melodies, and a pretty neat acapella vocal part.
Of course, the boys do try to switch things up stylistically every now and then. “I’ll Be Loving You” is a soul-inspired track that is fairly reminiscent instrumentally of some Medasin beats. “Lazy” is lyrically a lower point on the record, but nothing but fun nonetheless and was clearly meant as an experiment in production style for the duo. The song grooves and flows in such a way that it feels like you could get high and be, well, lazy while listening to it.
Even where there are low points on Horizons, the masterful production and instrumental prowess always shines through and makes up for any shortcomings there may be. Overall, Bag Raiders have come a long way from simply being a meme. Horizons proves that the band deserves to be recognized for what they are: electro-pop geniuses and masters of their craft.