St. Lucia, a synth-pop band led by husband-and-wife duo South Africa-born Jean-Philip Grobler and half-Taiwanese Patti Beranek return with their new single, “Take Me Away”. After four years, St. Lucia will be releasing their fourth studio album, ‘Utopia’, on October 7th via Nettwerk.
“Take Me Away” bops along on claps and a falsetto hum with uncontainable energy and a twist of trip-hop production. Its core message depicting how to deal with depression and mental health is enhanced by a colourful fusion of synth-pop, yacht rock, and electronica. With an emphasis on productivity and pop purity, the track was inspired by the chill-out music scenes from the late 90s and early 2000s, influenced by artists such as Bent, Zero 7, and a few Café Del Mar compilation records.
“I’ve struggled with depression and mental health throughout my life, but I’ve found that the best way out of that cycle is through speaking my mind and talking to someone about it,” says frontman Jean-Philip Grobler. “When you’re in a depressed place, it’s easy to feel ashamed and feel like, somehow, you’re a bad person or not good enough because you feel that way. The worst thing, I’ve found, is to keep that thought cycle bottled up inside yourself because that way it festers and goes into a feedback loop of negativity. But when I talk to people about it and allow those feelings to air, I realize that everyone deals with those things and that it’s totally normal – the feelings have a purpose, they’re not there for nothing. So that’s where the lyric ‘When you’re walking alone, tell me all of your secrets’ comes in. When someone is walking, alone or depressed, it is important to help them speak their minds. It’s part of why therapy is so valuable.”
“Take Me Away” arrives on the heels of previous single “Hey Now”. Driven by elegant arrangements and warm synths, the emotionally charged “Hey Now” transmits an uplifting reminder in the resounding chorus, “Hey now, well it only takes a second fall, but it only takes a minute to start over again.” In July, St. Lucia had shared their lead single “Touch”, which glides out of the gate on buoyant keys and a head-nodding bass line as the refrain reaches for ecstatic yacht rock. The track was complemented with a mirthful, 80s pop culture style music video directed by Nicole Lipp that features LGBTQ+ dancer/actor, Liv Mai, along with Canyon Carballosa, an inspiring advocate and member for both the LGBTQ+ and autism communities.
Discussing the group’s forthcoming LP that will be released next month, Jean-Philip expresses, “We at St. Lucia HQ are beyond excited (giddy, in fact) to reveal the next stage of our new musical era: ‘Utopia,’ the full album. Yes, yes, it’s true that we have been stringing you along a little bit, but in our opinion there’s nothing wrong with a little tease, and it might in fact lead to a more satisfying conclusion. ‘Utopia I’ makes up the first half on the album, like a side A, and our upcoming new release, ‘Utopia II,’ makes up the second half of the album, like a side B (remember from the heady days of vinyl?). The journey continues our search for the meaning of ‘Utopia’ through all the joy, sadness, and irony of our modern existence. Is ‘Utopia’ in the extremes, or is it in the tug-of-war between the extremes? Join us over the next few months for more clarity.”
St. Lucia has stayed faithful to what they’re best at: putting on incredible live shows everywhere from Coachella to Kansas City, producing shimmery synth-driven pop grooves, and having a good time doing what they love. Their debut album, ‘When The Night’, entered the Billboard Top 200 and hit #6 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album chart. The follow-up album, ‘Matter’, yielded the hit “Dancing On Glass”, while the band collaborated with Jack Antonoff, RAC and others. Two years later, ‘Hyperion’ represented a creative and critical high watermark with praise from Billboard, who hailed the album as “buoyant,” and PopMatters who raved, “it feels revelatory.”
Equal parts colourful disco, 70s funk, and 80s pop, the forthcoming ‘Utopia’ LP is a luminous palette of synths, pulsating with vibrant sonics that has come to characterise their genre-defying career. Inspired by everyone from David Bowie, The Weeknd, Daft Punk, to Parcels, St. Lucia enlisted the mixing talents of trusted collaborator Chris Zane [Passion Pit, The Walkmen] to help steer the sonically sparkling ship to greater heights.