Upon listening to the opening track of the new 'Ferus Melek' album 'We Don't Belong Here', I was greeted by a track that immediately made me think...this doesn't belong here! 'True Essence Of Our False Existence' is basically a classical piece that builds tension pretty well, but is by no means synthwave. Thank the lord I listened on...because the next track 'High Shelter' blew me away. I was absolutely delighted by how much it evoked memories of watching old superhero cartoons as a child. The use of the 70's-style synthesizer is pretty neat, something that immediately reminded me of some of 'Yes's early numbers like 'Roundabout'.

 

 

So there I was, thinking I was about to embark on a veritable rollercoaster of astronomy-themed imagery and superheroes flying wildly through the vacuum of space. Instead, I was yanked in the opposite direction. An in-your-face gritty guitar teamed with a 'Mr Roboto' styled set of lyrics (used similarly by a synthpop band called 'Graflex') is where Mr Melek decides to go next. I just love the unorthodox approach to the structure of this album and not being able to get to grips with it's direction makes it an adventure, almost like getting behind the wheel of a car and driving off for the hell of it without a map...or sat-nav if you're one of those conventional persons stuck in 2019...pfft.


The titular track 'We Don't Belong Here', is another U-turn in this seemingly never-ending mountainous journey. With a much slower tempo intertwined with some 'Miami Vice' feels, I'm quickly reminded of the second half of 'Crocketts Theme'. The sporadic use of strings is definitely something that is noticeable throughout the album so far and they get put to good use in a progressive flourish of an outro for this particular track. And there's those empowering synths once more. Man this guy's got game!


'Track Number Five' (yes I do know the actual name of the track, and it IS indeed 'Track Number Five'...I'm not that lazy) is a rough-round-the-edges piece, not memorable by any means but a passable instrumental nonetheless. yeah baby! The final frontier returns in the track 'Halley'. After a typical intro, the song burts into an ecstacy-laden overload of multiple synth riffs. He does incredibly well to get them all heard without one of them drowning out the others. Bravo. Flat sections followed by sharp sequences give the song a feel of a space-mission ultimately coming to a successful end after a perilous, near-death experience.


I've noticed another recurring theme of this compilation and that is the fact that the tracks are all pretty short, which is smart...and it means that almost any of these tracks could be released as a single if he chose to. 'Corridors Of Power' is the start of three creative tracks to end the album and is a really catchy instrumental. the final of these three songs 'Hit and Run' isn't what I would expect from a run-of-the-mill outro, they're usually just tracks to round everything off and close the story, so I was anticipating...well...not a lot to be quite honest with you.


However, it consists of wildly-rugged synth tones, and manages very well to go hand-in-hand with our old friend the violin (a mainstay throughout this album), something I'd have assumed wouldn't mould well together. I must also declare something...and what I'm about to say is VERY important, the part of the song from 2 minutes and 9 seconds onwards, might very well be my favourite piece of synthwave of the year. I cannot stress how awesome it is. All the ingredients just blend together beautifully into a magnificent ending, abrupt...but magnificent. You can't have enough abrupt endings in music in my opinion.


Well jeepers! What can I say that I haven't already said?! Trust me when I say you need to do yourselves a favour and go out of your way to give this album a listen. Isolate yourself from the troubles and worries of the real world and absorb yourself in the immenseness of this set of tracks. It's bold, confident, almost a rewrite of the entire genre...and without a shadow of a doubt, one of the standout albums of the year so far. If this is Ferus Melek's idea for a soundtrack to the pre-apocalypse, then I think I can keep an open mind to the idea of Armageddon. Joe Ward 9/10