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Styrofoam:: Nothing’s Lost (Album Review)

On Nothing’s Lost, Arne Van Petegem creates near-perfect electronic pop and somehow makes doing so sound easy. Unlike the overly dour I’m What’s There To Show That Something’s Missing, Van Petegem’s new album adds some invigorating uplift to Styrofoam’s signature melancholia. Perhaps his impressive array of contributors has something to do with it as Van Petegem appears solo on only three songs and generously shares the spotlight elsewhere. The downtempo opener “Misguided,” for example, is sweetened by Lali Puna’s Valerie Trebeljahr while Brendon Whitney’s (aka Alias) rap sounds anything but incongruous, and in fact kicks the tune to a higher level. Van Petegem’s talent for vocal counterpoint is showcased to marvelous effect on the anthemic, nine-minute closer “Make It Mine” as well as on “Couches In Alleys” and “Front To Back.” The former poignantly showcases Ben Gibbard’s (Death Cab For Cutie/The Postal Service) wistful singing and heavenly harmonies, while Andrew Kenny’s (American Analog Set) delectable falsetto glides over the silky surfaces of the latter. Nothing’s Lost is heavier, denser and in its best moments, verges on pop nirvana. (Ron Schepper)