80s

FULL ECLIPSE - "Former Selves"

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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. 

Gray Lee

https://30thfloor.uk/album/former-selves

YVES MALONE - "The Most Of What You Need Is All You'll Ever Have"

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Yves Malone - "The Most Of What You Need Is All You'll Ever Have"

(Third Kind Records)

Prolific synthwave/darkwave/anywave artist Yves Malone transmits yet another tasty morsel of electro-tastic note bounce in this Third Kind Records release, The Most of What You Need is All You'll Ever Have. That title is certainly a mouthful, and, just like the fancy toy horses on the cover, this release is raring to go, right out of the gate.

This album, coming to us straight out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yves Malone's home planet, kicks off with the ear-grabbing track Too Dark to Feel, a nearly eight-minute burner that pumps clear, unadulterated synth right into your brain space. Expertly mixed and mastered computer tones surge through this release without all the trippy distractions that lesser artists are tempted to gimmick us with. Don't mistake - this jam is trippy all right - but everything in here is a clean, pure note. I cannot imagine how Yves Malone even does this. I take that back - I can imagine Yves Malone doing this - what I cannot imagine is how Yves Malone does anything else. If I made a piece of music this intricate and pleasing, I would emerge from the glowing, whirring room filled with blinky computer lights with red eyes and skin ailments, forming a tin foil hat for myself and then falling face-first into the neighbor's swimming pool.

Yves knows how to keep this ripper going with massive tension and release, such as in the rockin' 80s vibed track Savings and Bone - (get it?)  I don't really even understand what that little play on words means? Banks will kill you? I believe it! My favorite track on here is Crimson Rain Swept it Away - which has this great tempo change about halfway through. What a ride! If you dig synth of the highest order, washing over you in fast-paced, labyrinthine melodies and punchy polyrhythms - you need to quit reading this review and get over to Third Kind Records right now!

Gray Lee

https://thirdkindrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-most-of-what-you-need-is-all-youll-ever-have