My <3, the new EP from Michigan-based electronic artist Jeremy Malvin, aka Chrome Sparks, sounds about as digital as its title would lead you to believe. And through flashy 808s and inviting electronica, Malvin wastes no time finding his own comfort zone. In fact, he gets really comfortable…and fast.
Doubt, No, My <3‘s opening track, is an exercise in chill, with a kicked-back synth line and muted drumbeat as uber-high and uber-low, pitch-shifted voices take turns singing very similar lyrics. <3 & Soul follows a nearly identical formula, while Soul & <3 (yes, they’re different songs) plays a bit with cutting the audio in and out to neat effect, but here we are again with the same robotic vocal duet as before. The same also goes for Show You My Way.
Chrome Sparks clearly has a preferred arsenal of tricks, falling back frequently on the same mix of synths, electronic bass drum kicks, and alternating high and low, pitch-shifted vocal samples. It all starts to sound very cold and plastic quickly, especially when so many of the lyrics are short, repeated phrases.
Two tracks, All There Is and Miss You, feature vocals from the wispy-voiced singer Steffaloo, who adds a welcome dose of warmth and liveliness to the proceedings with her contributions. There’s a dreamy aesthetic to these inclusions that breaks up all of the cool, digital beeps and beatsa bit of personality breaking through the robotic instrumentals, if you will. This Revenge Is Calm features similar, airy-voiced male vocals that help accomplish the same effect, but the end result is not as satisfying.
When the seven songs on a 30-minute EP start to blend into one another on the first listen, it’s clear a few more ideas should have been tossed into the mix. That’s not to say that My <3 won’t entertain you for a couple of spins, but it’s not something that will stay interesting for long.