Bailey claims that Generation Hexed, his debut album, is "pop music on my terms." That sounds about right. While it takes cues from the aforementioned rave music he so obviously adores, Bailey is always figuring out how to transform it into something quick, dirty and catchy. The issue on tracks like "All These Plans," though, is that his voice gets in the way. The glorious synths that stretch for epic in the chorus never quite reach there, blocked by his painfully normal larynx. It's only when he cuts them up, doubles them and sings notes rather than words a few minutes later in the same song that things coalesce.
Musically, the album sounds like an album. Bailey stretches his upbeat synth pop every which way. Calvin Harris would probably kill for a hook like the one found on "Lonely Days;" "Everything All at Once"'s wobbly, revolving synth line can't help but enchant. This is, after all, a guy who finds room in his musical universe for Mathew Jonson, Fugazi's Ian MacKaye, Dopplereffekt and Feadz—one right after another. He's like a UK version of Modeselektor in a way. Except without all the guest vocalists of course.
It may seem like I'm unnecessarily focusing on Bailey's singing. The music is often so good, however, that you can't help but wish that he'd opted for someone else to put on the make-up in the recording studio. Sure, we wouldn't be getting pop music on Drums of Death's terms anymore. But there's a reason that no one remembers the solo ventures from the other guys in KISS—Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley or Peter Criss. Pop music (on anyone's terms) is nothing without a vocalist. Generation Hexed is good. It could have been excellent.