'fight or flight'
Best track: chains of misery
click album cover to listen
In review today is ‘Fight Or Flight’ the debut effort by French retrowave artist S.C.A.R.T., set to be released through Retro Reverb Records on The 20th of November. Let’s fire it up and commence diagnostics on this 5 track EP.
Opening up we have the track Ethereal Immortal - a gorgeous delayed poly synth laden track featuring some heavy kick drum work, more to the point, metal inspired kick drum rolls. Followed by a lovely melodic section. This track is very melodic in general and manages to make its way through different sections whilst keeping them coherent. There’s even tapping guitar solo that melts your face off.
Mano a Mano starts off with swelling synths and a crushing bassline. The beat drops and you get an immediate sense of cool. The arppegios on display here are great and there’s also a fantastic use of tremolo. The track breaks down and the drum fills are satisfying as they crash around leading back into the arps. Some variation in the melody loop is added towards the end creating a thoughtful ending for the track.
Subby and atmospheric we have Strappado. Not one, not two but three arpeggios play with each other, intertwining and grooving. Overall the track has a very industrial feel, mainly from the snare sample and the choice of ringing, metallic sounding synthesis. You’re treated to more choppy tremolation and after the track breaks down you’re taken back into the trio arpeggio’s rounding off the track nicely.
The Big Game is certainly just that on first impressions, it comes across as a dark synth number tempo wise, but you’re fooled as melodic arpeggiators take your heart. The track breaks into a pulsing 16th hi hat beat and a guitar like portamento synth lead grinds its way through the speakers into your ears. It’s a really nice bit of sound design so props to S.C.A.R.T. for this.
Chains of misery is a groove machine opening with side-chained bass and the square wave arp and poly patches give a super ear pleasing retro video game vibe to this body moving EP closer. The melodies are melancholy but at the same time the track is upbeat. As the EP comes to a close and the track fades out, fast paced synths resound filling the mix and your soul with nostalgic goodness.
In conclusion, this 5 track extended play is a coherent and musically interesting selection of cyberpunk laden synthwave tracks exploring themes of depression and anxiety. I would’ve liked to hear more variation in the effects used, I found the tremolo rhythms were overused slightly. The production and overall sound quality felt too over compressed to my ears, it was clear but I felt a want for a larger dynamic range.
If you’re a fan of the cyberpunk sub genre you’ll likely appreciate the metal influences on display too as S.C.A.R.T. melds them successfully hand in hand. The track lengths are carefully considered and overall the EP is a really nice view into the prowess of S.C.A.R.T. as a musician. 7/10 Jack Gregory
a visual representation of the album:
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