Best track: poole crescent
click album cover to listen
2019 has been the year for accessible synthwave. the only problem being the complete ineptitude of the mainstream to feast their ears upon it. this album by lost outrider absolutely nails the commercial sound, backed up by top level production, which poses the question once more...what the f**k needs to happen for this stuff to hit the big time?!
this swathe of tracks also features a whole rasp of collaborations that truly showcase the 'know-how' and sheer talent of these two. and why am i reviewing an album that was released back in june you might ask? 'cos i wanna...
balance is quite important in an album, the positioning of certain tracks in the list can be the fine line between something good musically, and something truly great. intrumentals need to be carefully placed in among the vocal tracks as these tend to be the ones that earn all the plaudits. not here though. I was interested to see how people reacted to 'heart' on bandcamp and it was great to see that i wasn't alone in thinking the instrumental synthwave is as good, if not better than the majority of the vocal pieces. and i readily invite you to hinge on the word 'majority'.
if there's an effective way to announce your album to the world, it's with an opener featuring one of the scenes most loved bands. 'new arcades' lend their talents to the track 'eyes'. the only downfall to this song? it literally could be a 'new arcades' track, so i hope the boys did a good job in reminding people that this is their baby!
I might as well talk about the instrumentals in one go. a lot of albums I listen to will often use non-vocal tracks as a bridge to the next 'bread and butter' creation. and i'm throwing my hat in to the ring for the fact that this is all wrong people! instrumentals give you the chance to showcase what's going on in your creative mind and really prove what sort of musician you are. 'leave me here', sleeper', unravel & break', 'black arts & cold hearts' and lastly 'they never existed' mean that over half the pieces in this album are instrumental, so you'd be damn-well right to think that they must be good if so much emphasis is placed on them.
'unravel & break' and 'black arts & cold hearts' are proper stand-out non-vocal tracks, not just on this album, but probably for the year. the first is the perfect alternative soundtrack to those 80's kissing scenes in teen flicks tinged with heartbreak, think 'pretty in pink' and 'mannequin'. the latter has all the structure of a bold single, without the vocals which makes me wonder if there were originally plans to add some to it. don't be fooled by its calm introduction, it well and truly kicks up a level in the choruses, if you can call them that.
'next to you' is my first love from the list, featuring the ever-so-chill lo-fi vocals of 'michi'. this is another example of the boys' keen ear as to what coincides naturally together. the minimalistic approach to the percussion and continuous soothing synths without any brash notes compliments her voice majestically, allowing it to take centre-stage.
my biggest love however, goes to 'poole crescent'. i could listen to that peaceful introduction all day! the earlier vocals are of a delicate nature before we are once again exhibited to all things beautiful in synthwave. mighty synths cascade whilst surrounded by some massive percussions, all tied together nicely with some mesmerising heart-and-soul singing. for me it's a standout track of 2019.
i hope this review might bring to the fore a few of you who may have missed the records' release back in the summer. as the winter nights creep in, the light-heartedness and uncompromising beauty of this album is a perfect listen. incredible instrumentals, voluptuous vocals and stunning singing await you. and with some lovely changes in tempo and feel mid-song, you'll feel like you're getting more than just these nine tracks. Joe ward 9/10
a visual representation of the album:
if you're in to this, you'll also like:
new arcades, nina, moonrunner83 and siamese youth