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The cover of BØRNS’ debut studio album “Dopamine.”

Courtesy of BØRNS

BØRNS’ debut album will give you a rush of "Dopamine"

The up-and-coming alternative artist's collection of indie-pop love songs is sure to impress.

By Katherine White | Oct. 29, 2015

Tags: Music Reviews

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Ever since his debut EP “Candy,” BØRNS has been an artist to watch. His single “Electric Love” gained attention in the alternative music community, peaking at No. 15 on the Billboard Alternative charts. The track even gained a shout-out from Taylor Swift, who called it “an instant classic.”

Although his EP was an enjoyable collection, BØRNS raised the bar for “Dopamine.” This debut album features 11 captivating indie-pop love songs, ranging from the nostalgic and sweet to the sensual and melancholy.

“Dopamine” begins with a track off of the “Candy” EP, “10,000 Emerald Pools.” A fairly simple beat provides the background for BØRNS to flaunt his vocals on the first track with some interesting layering. The steady bass line combined with a fluttering electric guitar and ocean-themed lyrics create an underwater feeling throughout the track. His claims that “all I need is you” set the stage for more love songs to come.

The other two songs on the album from the EP, “Electric Love” and “Past Lives,” also highlight of BØRNS’ high vocal range and catchy hooks to express his puppy love. “Electric Love” relies on alternative rock influences, primarily using simple guitar riffs and layered vocals. On the flip side, “Past Lives,” focuses on the pop side of indie-pop with an upbeat meter and bubbly electronic effects.

His new songs feature more electronic instruments than in his EP, helping to create the lighthearted atmosphere of BØRNS’ endearment. “Dug My Heart” makes great use of such elements, adding that bubblegum flair to this slower, sadder track. Layered electronic effects are also a huge part of title track “Dopamine,” a song about how BØRNS’ infatuation is fueled by the neurotransmitter responsible for addiction and pleasure.

“Dopamine” does not disappoint as a representative track for the album: It features alt-rock-inspired guitar riffs, electronic synths and effects, BØRNS’ high-pitched vocals and lyrics about how head-over-heels he is — all staples of the album.

Slower songs like “The Emotion” and “Clouds” add some depth to “Dopamine.” In the former, BØRNS belts about his heartbreak over a background of fluttering guitars. The slowest track on the album, “Clouds,” has a certain empty arena atmosphere that makes listening in headphones feel like listening in the back rows of an intimate concert.

My favorite track, “American Money,” plays off of a similar kind of atmosphere. The song uses a cinematic sound to create a feeling of nostalgia. Combined with a catchy chorus and the seductive nature of BØRNS’ lyrics, “American Money” makes an anthem for road trip lovers or anyone who loves a good song. My other favorite, “Holy Ghost,” emphasizes BØRNS’ talent for creating a melody that’s easy to fall in love with.

An album solely made up of indie-pop love songs may sound boring or repetitive at first, but BØRNS makes use of different styles, beats and sides of love to create a well-rounded album in “Dopamine” that’s well worth a listen.

MOVE gives “Dopamine” five out of five stars.

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