It’s been a month or so since Trevor Something dropped his highly-anticipated and we are excited to finally get around to reviewing it here on NewRetroWave. Right from the album’s intro Trevor Something drops where he comes from and what he is trying to achieve with the nostalgic sound of loading a tape into a recorder.
And seriously, you might easily mistake this release for something that hails from the days of cassettes and heavy eye shadow. The mood that prevails throughout the album is that of melancholic, droning vocals awash in a deluge of analog synths and pulsating bass.
At times sounding alternately like Pet Shop Boys on quaaludes and Depeche Mode in their prime, there is still a clear chillwave trademark present throughout the album’s tracks. Most of the songs are sung in what seems to be a quartal harmony which gives that slightly dissonant effect. In the end, the impression is less “Miami” as much as “80s UK New Wave”.
Lyrically, most of the tracks cover the wistful territory of fleeting encounters and haunting romantic feelings. As such it goes really hand in hand with the above-mentioned droning vocals. And the arrangements really focus on the voice punctuated only by the drum machine and ethereal synth background.
And while the marriage of these elements is quite happy, the overall finish is not quite as varied and top-notch as some other staples in the vocal synthwave subgenre (if you will) such as Tesla Boy’s debut album. Some tracks seem simply just like rearrangements of the previous ones.
Anyway, the album still manages to produce some outstanding tracks, and there’s a chance you might have heard them in the months leading up to the release as they were also dropped as singles.
The third track on the album was already released as a single in December last year and as soon as you hear it, it’s single qualities become obvious. Low-tempo beat, lush chord progression that just ooze longing and unrequited love, it’s all here. First track on the album you might find yourself humming as you’re obsessively hitting refresh on NewRetroWave’s Facebook page.
LOVE YOU AGAIN
Love You Again is perhaps the most atypical track of the album and while I found it veers a little bit too much into the area of Usher-like r’n’b it definitely deserves a mention. For once Trevor is exchanging the guise of the forlorn lover for a suave, sex-hungry bad ass motherfucker who just wants to “fuck her again, fuck her again”. Yes, children, explicit lyrics are name of the game on this tracks which might come as surprising but goes well with Trevor’s persona of a drug-loving swinging ladies’ man.
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU
A truly danceable track, Something About You features a truly bitching bassline and a nice breathy and echoey vocal styling. It’s good to hear Trevor totally head over heels about this mysterious girl - probably wearing a tight glittery dress and ruffled fiery big hair - and I actually wished the song was a little longer in the end. The 16-bit Remix of this track is really fun and wholly recommended (for just $1.50 on his Bandcamp it’s a steal).
A really cool, chilled track to close the album with, this one includes a nice choir of robotic voices singing about the, well, synthetic love. Whether or not they like it is unclear but it’s all about the mood anyway. Keeping the structure quite simple, Trevor forgoes most of percussions for a focus on the harmonies and creating an almost hymnic feeling.
Final verdict? Like its name, Synthetic Love - although it actually manages to innovate synthwave at times - seems almost a little bit too synthetic at times (mostly due to the vocals). Above all, serves as a nice ID card for Trevor Something and helps to flesh out the mythos of this OD’d 80s musician that came from the dead.
Cobra Copter has just dropped "The Golden Age" - a self-released six track mini album. With so much music coming through on my Soundcloud stream, initial first listens can be crucial. "The Golden Age" appeared on my stream as an 'album sampler' which is a great way to showcase your music in a short space of time. (Shout outs to EDDO2001 on Soundcloud who's stream is definitely one to follow for great music with a heavy leaning to the retro scene).
"The Golden Age" sampler instantly got me interested in seeking out the full length album on Cobra Copter's Bandcamp.
The album opens with the obligatory 'intro' track to set things up - the synths are powered up, the lights are down - all systems go! 'Vegas Nights' come on with a medium pace and is reminiscent of William Orbit's 'El Ninjo' in parts. The main synth line perfectly conceptualises the feeling of driving the I-15 into Vegas as the sun is setting, getting you ready for whatever will be going down for the night. The next track 'Rebel Heart' could be the next instalment of this Vegas night, finding your friends at the hotel bar then moving on to where the night takes you. That might be to the next track '86 Love Affair' - the perfect soundtrack for standing on the terrace at the top of the Cosmopolitan with the cute waitress you met earlier at the Flamingo craps tables. 'Chrome City' is the 1am drive through the city to the 'speak easy' just out of town. Last track 'Showdown' finishes this night out - driving out to the desert as the sun starts to come up, Ray Bans at the ready, taking in the silence before you head back to do it all over again.
"The Golden Age" is an excellent collection of songs. Clocking in at just over 17 minutes the only criticism I have is that many of the songs are rather short. None of them would suffer for being longer. Maybe there are some 'full length' versions in the works? On the other hand, Cobra Copter does leave you wanting more, which is a good thing. Also of note are some of the tasteful elements Cobra Copter uses in their tracks - subtle detuned synths for that authentic analog feel, punchy dynamics with tastefully placed sounds and arrangements. Everything is where it should be right down to the cool album graphics - "golden age" indeed!
NOW YOU MAY HAVE HEARD THE RUMORS OVER AND OVER AGAIN. WELL WE ARE HERE TO CONFIRM THAT WHAT YOU HEARD IS IN FACT CORRECT. MPM WILL NO LONGER BE MAKING MUSIC OF THE RETRO KIND. AFTER MANY YEARS OF DELIBERATING AND EXPERIMENTATION, HE IS TRULY LEAVING THE SCENE.
EVEN HIS BLOG SHOWS NO SIGN OF RETRO MUSIC....BUT IT DOES HAVE LAW ADVICE!!
MPM HAS BEEN A GREAT INSPIRATION TO US ALL, BUT WE MUST RESPECT HIS DECISION AND STOP SENDING HIM MESSAGES AND BOTHERING HIM. LET HIM BE! WE WERE GUILTY OF THIS ONCE, BUT NOT AGAIN.
WE WILL, AS A RESULT OF MPM'S REQUESTS, BE TAKING DOWN ALL OF HIS VIDEOS FROM OUR YOUTUBE THIS WEEK..........FOR GOOD......NO MORE MPM WILL BE AVAILABLE ON OUR PAGE APART FROM "PARTY UP" TO WHICH MPM HAS AGREED CAN STAY.
ANOTHER BLOW TO THE SCENE....AGAIN..X2...BUT THIS TIME