I’m not the biggest advocate of spinoffs. More often they try and fail to ride off the coattails of an already recognizable brand; they fade into history as byproducts, extensions, unnecessaries. The stigma is even stronger in the music world, where the solo projects of even the most renowned groups sometimes only succeed at showcasing the artist’s dependency on their legacy.

Brothers Christoph and Anton Hochheim are no exception to this kind of scrutiny: the two’s involvement with The Depreciation Guild and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart is bound to result in comparisons from critics. However, their debut album as Ablebody, Adult Contemporaries, sets itself apart from landfill dream pop with its strong songwriting and instrumentation that pulls inspiration from 70’s and 80’s pop without ever feeling insipid or overly sentimental. The brothers’ breathy vocal stylings sell the sincerity of their quiet contemplations of love. To augment their lyricism, the duo stacks layers of clean, ringing guitar leads and euphoric synthesizer leads that could dispel even the darkest of clouds. This hazy mix of vocals, guitars and keyboards is all brought together by the Hochheims’ inventive songwriting that walks the fine line between creativity and pop sensibility; there’s something in these tunes for both casual listeners and highbrow critics. Any doubts about Ablebody’s legitimacy will almost certainly dispelled by this record’s sheer radiance.

-Michael Nguyen