On the surface, Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Adaline’s sophomore effort seems to have all the requisite ingredients of a slick, radio-ready album: quick turnover time (four weeks), a relatively high-profile producer (Hawksley Workman) and studio assistance from a Swede (Märten Tromm). But Modern Romantics sidesteps the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus snore-show template of most mainstream pop. The track roster closely mimics the narrative of a real-life romance, running the gamut from first spark (the infectious electro-friction of “The Noise”), to first sex (the breathy, red-blooded vocals of “Keep Me High”), to the inevitable, soul-pulverizing conclusion captured in lush piano numbers.
Thanks to Workman’s fastidious ear, the result is smartly polished without strong-arming the spontaneity out of the songwriting. It’s hook-y without being soulless, and patchwork in the most flattering sense. Think of this as pop, unpackaged.
Playlist Picks: “Silent Player,” “The Noise,” “Keep Me High”
Adaline plays the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave.) on Nov. 12.