best track: we are neon
'our night drive'
'kumiko25' has well and truly burst on to the scene with this initial 7-track offering. synthwave promoters retro reverb records saw enough of what they wanted and jumped at the chance to sign this guy. this ep was released hot on the heels of the first single release which can also be found on the ep. 'we are neon' also happens to be the signature track and my personal favourite.
The song is also accompanied by a simple yet very arty music video. the overall structure of 'we are neon' is very shallow, making use of a long intro without any form of verse and chorus follow up. simple yet smooth, it works well and will appeal to fans of futurecop! and other dreamwave artists.
I say dreamwave as there is nothing dark about this entire ep, the vocals are soft and the tempo is never particularly fast. and for your for your debut, there is no safer bet than aiming for one of the more popular subgenres of synthwave. the introduction to this a track called 'right to remain (replicant)' and it actually initially doesn't set the tone for the rest of the ep, the first 50-odd seconds are reminiscent of 'supernova' by 'morgan willis'. the psychedelic and sci-fi sounds led me in to a false sense that this would be the overwhelming theme to the ep. I was so wrong! weirdly, I came to find that the beat had me thinking of 'grandmaster flash's' 'white lines' which is so not what he meant to do i'm sure, and if you're reading this...I apologise for even saying this! the main point is...it's a bold opening to get the juices flowing.
the third track goes by the same name as the ep and isn't particularly memorable. I would say it's purpose is more a time-filler until we get to the good stuff once again. 'electric sun module' follows it up and is a very retro instrumental with a chillwave tempo layered with synth overtones. we are then greeted with the second track to feature vocals titled 'connectors'. and straight away I can hear some real 'human league' echos, everything from the retro drums and synths through to the vocals. i'm beginning to feel like this ep is meant to be more of a nod to 80's synthpop than a designated synthwave piece. and yet as I write this sentence, the speakers are suddenly blaring out a track that pays homage to the original outrun sound.
'the timely death of chedd' is by no means a brilliant track but I like that it takes me back to the opening song on 'fm attack's' 'stellar' album which also uses the 'mr roboto' vocals. the synths in this one are very similar to those used by 'the eurythmics' which is never a bad thing! the overall feel of this song transfers in to the outgoing track of this ep and I think an opportunity was missed to merge these in to a two-parter, similar to that of 'joan of arc' and 'maid of orleans' on the 'architecture and morality' album by 'omd'. I know that's probably not a particularly informative or even relevant opinion but I just think the two tracks are of a similar nature and they would've blended together well.
to summarise, what we have here is a well thought out ep that replicates many sounds from the synthpop brilliance of the 80's. i'm sure that a number of artists from that era would agree that they play a big part in the overall sound of this album. I commend the mind behind kumiko25 and implore him to carry on. he obviously has a musical direction and i think he replicates the various synthwave subgenres very nicely. I fully expect the next helping to be even more creative. 8/10 joe ward
click album cover to listen