Full Eclipse - "Former Selves"
(30th Floor Records)
Former Selves is the latest release by Full Eclipse on racy Cardiff, UK label, 30th Floor Records. This album is a long, cool, drink of smooth synth, hot beats, and vintage sounds, topped off with vocals and lyrics that don't get bogged down in the intentions of the aesthetic.
There are a lot of terms that could go into the aesthetic of Former Selves, synthwave, retrowave, synth pop - but it all amounts to distilling the best elements of 80s and 90s pop music into modern productions, and that's exactly what Full Eclipse excels at doing here. Listeners can expect soaring guitars, reverb soaked drums and the energetic notes of synth that remind us of a golden time in music, and of a retro future that we have yet to experience. In the track, Are We All, a warm synth layers over a driving soft rock drum kit, as a sizzling, yet smooth guitar solo dominates the track. Another standout track is Clocktowers, that creates a brilliant climb with a white hot synth solo that plateaus into a steamy outro for the back third of the track.
Despite the enjoyable 80s throwbacks, it is with word and voice that Full Eclipse is able to reach beyond a simple execution of a style. Lead vocalist, Full Eclipse, lends a deep baritone rendering of heartfelt lyrics that defy the bubblegum stereotype that the stylized music seemingly demands. In the opening track, Lebenfallen, he delivers such lines as:
"Do you remember all the times gone by?/
The world turned as we burned up the youthful enthusiasm/
We had long assumed that we could never die."
The vocals, which clearly evoke styles from two or three decades ago, manage to remain fresh in content and delivery. This juxtaposition of modern and classic elements delivers a blend that makes Former Selves an engaging listen, both as an enjoyable synthwave piece, and a standalone expression of the artist - blissful and melancholic reverie of love and heartbreak, slick hair, shiny jackets and sunglasses at night.