Insides - Euphoria (1993), 6/10

The blend of early techno influences with modern pop sensibilities makes Euphoria live up to its name. With appropriate descriptions such as sensual, hypnotic, and bittersweet, the album tells a story of mysterious lust and obscured love. The resulting sound is surprisingly psychedelic for such a minimal collection of sounds. The consistent feeling of warm relief emanating from these songs makes their repetition endearing and emotive energy remarkably steady. Some tracks break this atmospheric mold such as “Bent Double” and “Distractions” where the duo take things one step further into undiscovered textural landscapes such as the thumping bass or far-reaching synth sounds. While there is nothing entirely new or adventurous here from a technical or theoretical perspective, the combination of existing tropes, sounds, and themes makes it notably unique as a resulting product. Yates sounds eerily similar to Bj√∂rk throughout much of the record but less like an imitation and more like a true contemporary. Tardo’s guitar flourishes add substantial and necessary depth to songs like “Darling Effect” along with the lush electronic backdrops and Yates’ soft vocal refrains. The resulting sound is a beautiful picture of faint empty streets yet simultaneously the exhilaration of nightlife. The record has a unique but appropriate ability to induce a euphoric spell, a sensual musing of the past or more hopefully the future. The minimalist approach to instrumentation yields a purer experience than the slew of contemporary indie pop records drowned in excessive textures and overwhelming sounds. Euphoria is a remarkably accessible yet uncommonly gratifying pop record because of its exceptional self-awareness.