The Synthwave Radioshow
Best track: bounce
click album cover to listen
Our philosopher of synthwave, and one of my favourite play-on-words artist names. If we chortle at Com Truise, we marvel at Occams Laser, whose latest release 'Tension' - released in April 2019 across streaming sites - takes a decisive 35 minutes to penetrate us with controlled, score-heavy synth.
There is a tonal shift in this release from previous work, but - because it's Occams Laser - it still sounds authored and instantly distinguishable from other synth from the dark side. Opener 'Dawn' could be interpreted as allegorical for a 'new dawn' in terms of a more accessible sound, less doom-laden and more radio-friendly.
'Naked' (to carry on the metaphor) is more 'true form' Occams, an instantly darker track which grows larger, taking you on a winding journey until it hits the 4 and half minute mark and leaves you at the side of the road... Your next destination is the grittier, eponymous 'Tension'; which Occams is now ratcheting up...
The album standout for me is track 6, Bounce, which most deftly demonstrates Occam's talent for layering syncopated melodies that lock in the ear - looping and building. This would be the movie's main theme; with the central hook invoking the lead character's initiative and the secondary motif playing the triumphant win - those bad guys / zombies / satanic cult freaks are dead and our hero lives to see another dawn!
By the time the album closes on its 8th and final track, we are at 'Dusk' - a reflective and melancholic tune, clearly positioned to take us, the listener, home...But are we ever really safe? I swear something just moved in the shadows of the highway...
If Occams' live debut at 2018's Retro Future Festival is any indication, he will turn these tracks into dance floor thrillers - and they deserve to be heard in this context - that's if his young family doesn't stop him hitting the road to tour more widely. I for one will be there, lurking somewhere in the centre of the crowd.. protected from the unseen threat ever present on the edges of the music.
Occams Laser, never taking the easy or safe route - but rather crawling and climbing through the thick of the forest so you dont have to. Tread safely. 8.5/10 Rob Dyson