Heart of darkness

Morgan Geist crafts warm electronic pop on his new album, Double Night Time.

CITY SLICKER Metro Area’s Geist serves up a collection of sleek and glossy synth-led songs.

CITY SLICKER Metro Area’s Geist serves up a collection of sleek and glossy synth-led songs.

We always knew Morgan Geist had the heart of a pop star. His acclaimed modern-disco duo Metro Area has often reveled in chirpy melody; Environ, the label he runs, signed Kelley Polar, who basically trades in a baroque form of classic pop. On Double Night Time, Geist’s second solo album—and his first in a decade—the producer has fully embraced his inner Human League, with bubbly synth-driven tunes anchored by precise drum-machine beats and graced by radio-ready lyrics. Heightening the pop appeal, those words are sung by Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan, whose breathy coo can be eerily reminiscent of soft-rock kings like Gerry Rafferty or Bread’s David Gates. Geist is celebrating the album’s release on Wednesday 15 at Santos Party House, where he’ll be spinning alongside his Metro Area partner, Darshan Jesrani.

Ten years is a quite a while between albums. What was the holdup?
This was a lengthy, drawn-out process—not that the tracks necessarily profited from me taking so long. I’m just really self-conscious about my music, and end up constantly re-editing things, thinking they’re not good and starting over, yet again. And these are mostly new tracks, not singles that I had already released—I didn’t want people to call me lazy. There are only two old tracks on the album.

One of those older songs, “Lullaby,” is the album’s last cut, and it seems like the perfect closer.
The title certainly works, and I guess it’s pretty much a comedown track. I’m not sure what it’s coming down from, though—the whole album is pretty mellow.

Who wrote the album’s lyrics?
Jeremy wrote the lyrics to “City of Smoke and Flame,” and I wrote the rest. It probably would have been better if I had let him do it, but this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I have affection for good, vocal pop music—not Top 40 stuff, but more like Kelley Polar or Junior Boys. Not that I’d be opposed to having a track in the Top 40.

The words seem like they’re personal, but in an oblique sort of way.
That’s very kind and gentle of you to say! Giving the lyrics to Jeremy was the scariest part. I figured he would say, “What the fuck is this?” That actually didn’t happen much, but he did give me some advice. On “Most of All,” I had all these weird lyrics that basically meant “I’m still in love with you.” And he said, “Why don’t you just say ‘I’m still in love with you?’ ” Afterward, I was not believing that I actually used that line in one of my songs.

The Double Night Time Release Party is at Santos Party House Wed 15.