As February arrives, there’s suddenly a huge input of new electronic tunes to sort through. For our latest Teclist outing, we dive into some unashamedly euphoric synth-pop.
One thing that’s increasingly clear from our recent reviews is that the domestic electronic music community appears to be in good health – or at least keeping busy. Despite the ongoing struggles to find a way in the turbulence of modern life, musicians still find a way to write, produce and release music. On that basis, let’s zip through the latest choices…
AXLS – Fahrenheit 104
Previously, AXLS served up the excellent concept album First Contact (see TEC review). Consisting of Victoria Owsnett (vocals), Chris Simmons (synths) and Conrad McQueen (bass), AXLS have crafted a sound that bounces between bombastic pop and a lighter, ethereal vibe.
‘Fahrenheit 104’ continues along familiar lines with a composition that pulses with a dancepop appeal and burbling synths buoyed by Owsnett’s breathy yet crisp vocal delivery. The band emphasise that this tune was “produced with the sole purpose of getting people out of their seats and dancing their hearts out”, something which it does quite successfully. The throbbing beats and narrative drive of losing yourself in a night on the town make this a definite synth-pop banger.
MARTYN BAILEY – Boys and Girls
There’s a light and breezy quality to ‘Boys and Girls’ that offers up the perfect escape from the often grey and grim realities of modern living. Martin Bailey makes no secret of his love for a 1980s aesthetic (with a nod to synthwave), at the same time this composition skips over being a simple pastiche of that era.
This is an artist having fun with a strong, engaging vocal delivery coupled with a tight and polished production. There’s a busy collage of synth layers threaded throughout this composition with some nice hooks and an easy, engaging rhythm. You also can’t argue with uplifting sentiments such as “Cos when the world gets rough/We all need the love.”
If this track floats your boat, then Martyn’s companion track ‘Pop Star’ (which is essentially a love letter to the classic synth-pop era) will also find favour.
MATTHIAS & MARSS – Ever After
There’s a rawness to ‘Ever After’ care of American-Canadian electropop outfit Matthias & Marss (aka Matt Danforth and Marss Ramos) in its crunchy rhythms and vocal melodies.
Taken from forthcoming album Plus One, ‘Ever After’ suggests an alternative universe Erasure, aiming for a similar dancepop sensibility and a definite love for that energetic pop approach. Meanwhile, the lyrics offer a passionate, yearning quality with some effective poetic couplets (“Rushing into my heart like the sweetest bullet train”).