In the words of Almost Famous, “it’s all happening” for Børns. From performing on Conan in January to the release of his debut in October, Garrett Borns – the man behind the stage name – has jumped quite swiftly into the music industry’s sphere of consciousness, with not undue justification.
Dopamine is a gloriously confident debut. Børns takes us not just on a rollercoaster but through the whole theme park. While it’s true that eleven drum and synth-heavy tracks disguised as a new brand of electro-pop can get a bit tiring, there are certainly stand-out tracks that are undeniable. Bookended by ‘10,000 Emerald Pools’ and ‘Fool’, the album is sustained by a consistent energy that carries you along through some of the more questionable tracks. One of the gems on the album, ‘Electric Love’ is an incredibly cleverly crafted track; the swirling guitar combining perfectly with the heavy drums to create a gorgeously anthemic love song. The bare bridge provides welcome respite and contrast to the huge and rather grandiose chorus.
Børns, whether intentionally or not, has littered Dopamine with musical references from all over: the song ‘American Money’ borrows from Lana Del Rey’s ‘National Anthem’; the feel of the album in itself is a little bit Grouplove, little bit Gotye; and whilst the male falsetto hasn’t exactly been patented by Justin Timberlake, but the verse of title track ‘Dopamine’ definitely has a bit of ‘Rock Your Body’ thrown in there.
Dopamine certainly isn’t a game-changer; it delivers no lyrical sucker punches, no instant indie classics, but it promises to do nothing of the kind. All it promises is to show you a damn good time, and it certainly delivers.