best track: sleepless
click album cover to listen
I've always liked an album that starts with a track that was obviously made to be an introduction to the compilation, and nothing more. we're treated to a nice array of synths for the entirety of the song, no drums, no real melody or vocals. just pure unadulterated synth tones and I bloody love how relaxed they make me feel!
the intro does indeed set the tone for the rest of the album as the synthesizer is the overwhelming choice for the tones heard in the rest of the songs. we are rewarded with a further five tracks after the intro in what is the second ep released by driver86.
as with many instrumental compilations, tracks can often sound very similar to one another, and the same can be said of this array of tracks. however, each one does have it's own likeable feature. 'eyes closed' has a similar tempo to 'a real hero' by 'college & electric youth' and even includes a like-for-like chunky bassline to the one we hear in that track. I guess however, that I expected bigger things from this track as it doesn't progress much past an additional synth melody that you could probably call a verse if there had to be one.
the third track 'dreamers' falls in to the category of simplicity and at 4 minutes 39 seconds long, it feels too lengthy. with 'night pursuit', I can definitely hear the direction they tried to go down. the choice of notes and simple synths do give the feel of a late night chase. however it's too soft for me, when I thin of pursuits I think of fast-tempos and high-adrenaline bold sounds. this just feels a little too quiet.
lost without you is probably the least memorable track of the compilation. there is no discernable verses or choruses and structurally it's about as simple as it gets. the final song 'sleepless' is a strange one. at six minutes long, it is the longest track from the album and the best bit of it begins around five minutes in. although it's simple once more, the addition of another synth and the notes chosen give an overwhelming feeling of a young couple on a fuzzy sofa in some cool pad in Hollywood somewhere,about to express their love to one another. heck, make a music video for this and throw in some zack morris and Kelly kapowski 'best of' moments and I think you'd have the perfect accompaniment!
while I don't doubt the talent of driver86, I feel that there is room for improvement. but as I write this, I can honestly say there is an upswing in quality between this and his two following singles. I won't say what they are but i'd recommend you go and have a listen. i'm fully aware however that this is of course his first album and as firsts go, it's not bad at all. as synthwave progresses as a genre, i'm fully confident that the talents of driver86 will grow as well. 6.5/10 joe ward