When It Was Now
Label: Warner Records
In 2013, this Australian band's debut is exactly what "indie" sounds like to a major label: overly slick yet undeniably catchy electro-pop. This band of three brothers and a keyboard man follows in the neon footsteps of fellow Aussies Empire of the Sun with their similarly funky '80s synth pop, while also tiptoeing along Death Cab for Cutie's earnest, sensitive-man path. Stargazing synths gasp and wobble around jittery rhythms, ringing guitar and handclapped hooks (see "Trojans"), as lead vocalist Keith Jeffery reaches for Chris Martin levels of lost-love metaphors and falsetto grandeur.