The Synthwave Radioshow
Best track: skateparks at sunset
click album cover to listen
'Boys on Boards' is the (sort of) follow-up to 2018's 'Girls on Bikes' (and features another fantastic cover from 80s masterclass illustrator Mizucat). The appeal and what makes it stand out from other artists in the scene, is its dedication to its cause; authentic and unapologetic mid 1980s mall music.
And OSC pulls it off with aplomb; not once sounding derivative, but rather entirely credibly situated in a world of suburban America. This is a train ride from the big city, but boy, we're going to have fun while we're still young in this little town.
'boys on boards'
It all kicks off with a blissfully upbeat mash-up of instantly nostalgic themes and video game bleeps that reminds this old fella of waking up with a morning of Saturday cartoons ahead of him. Thematically 'Boys on Boards' is squarely in a 1980's anywhere, saturated by cereal commercials, soft drink battles for your tastebuds and allowance, and long days of ball games and bike ride backies.
If the track 'Boys on Board' is innocent childhood, then the next tune 'This Girl's Hard to Read' is early teenhood; invoking U.S. high school hallways, long bright walks down tree-lined late-summer streets, watching that girl you like ride by in the yellow school bus - giving a surreptitious smile when she's been ignoring you all semester.
'Skateparks at Sunset' has all the promise and excitement of a first kiss as the night draws in; it's still warm enough to be walking home in shorts, but an occasional chill and a killer synth melody lets you glimpse the promise of an adulthood you cant yet know or understand. 'James' mom' meanwhile dishes up a funky interlude - another catchy New-Edition style number that could be the theme to your nightly TV dinner sitcom.
The EP rounds off with 'Drive Safe, Kids'. A bright track with a piano break in the third act that channels Bruce Hornsby and a quick fade out; and before we know it its over. Summer is but a memory and we awake blinking into the grey of a confusing reality. Nothing left to do but turn that cassette over and punch play again. 7.5/10 Rob Dyson