Is Tropical gained fame last year when their video for their song ‘The Greeks’ went viral. The controversial video featured young children acting out scenes of war and drug dealing, with the help of some postproduction animation that added gruesome blood and gore. The video is a stark contrast to the generally synth based pop music that band has made their staple. The three-piece band consists of a guitarist, bassist, and drummer, with both guitarists switching off on synth duties. Not much is know about the trio, until recently they even performed with masks.
For their short set at Le Baron, the group chose to pull songs almost exclusively from their debut, ‘Native To’ – the exception being the opener, ‘Tan Man’, a synth heavy instrumental b-side that set the tone for the rest of the night. The track flowed smoothly into ‘South Pacific’, a fan favorite that is much more reminiscent of indie pop with it’s stripped down nature and simple lyrics.
One of the highlights of the set was ‘Lies’, which sounds like it would fit perfectly into the current house music scene which haunting electro synths and smooth vocals. The live version including a short break, before erupting into a boisterous reprise that garnered jumps from the crowd. The band’s final track was ‘Seasick Mutiny’, which is also the final track from their debut album. The track is a classic electronic jam vehicle, mixing fast paced synths, extremely catchy xylophone notes, and hard, deep drums and bass. After the set, the band returned to the stage to play ‘The Greeks’ once more due to some sort of technical difficulties before – though no one in the crowd seemed to mind.
Is Tropical is a unique brand of livetronica that clearly has a place in today’s music scene. The pop heavy synths will appeal to the modern house music fan, the drums and guitars reminisce of the Disco Biscuits or Lotus, and the muffled vocals have twinge of Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. From their music videos alone, you’d never be able to guess just how much this live band rocks the house.