Browsing Tag

Darkwave Synth Pop

Hope Called in Sick has released their melancholic playlist staple, Lotus.

Hope Called in Sick

Iconic sonic palettes from the 80s and the 90s converge in Hope Called in Sick’s latest single, Lotus; the shimmering synth melodies paired with the layers of accordant shoegazey reverb made it a multi-stop nostalgia hit.

Plenty of contortions have been spun upon the 80s synth sound, but the husband and wife duo, Rob and Monica Schipul, managed to bring brand-new phantasmal energy out of it. Lotus offers a very different brand of ambience; one that reflects our modern malaise and the duo’s Jungian lens through which they see the world.

Check out the latest release from Hope Called in Sick on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Last Clouds take you to the sonic depths of dejection with their ethereal indie electronica track, Black Hole Lives.

With an intro that mashes The National-style tender piano keys with glitchy caustic electronica, the sense of duality starts resonating early in The Last Clouds’ latest single, Black Hole Lives.

There is an overarching sense of inescapable despair while the restive drum patterns epitomise our refusal to sit restless with ennui. Resonate with it, and you will find yourself consumed by the monochromatic tones, poetic lyrics and psychologically reflective rhythms as you’re taken to the sonic depths of dejection. I mean, do you really have anywhere better to go?

As the single progresses, the reverb that took the sting out of the naturally intimate, Paul Banks reminiscent vocals in the intro starts to slip away, allowing the emotion to ebb and flow with the crescendos, saving the most visceral for last.

I don’t make Paul Banks comparisons lightly, but if any new single is going to leave you an emotional wreck, it is Black Hole Lives and I can personally vouch for The Last Clouds when I say they pour plenty more into their live performances than Interpol.

Black Holes Lives is the second release from the Cheshire-based synth duo’s upcoming album, English Melancholy. The single was officially released on September 17th; you can check it out via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Siobamm has made her dark-pop debut with her alt-indie-electronica EP, ‘Gloom Patrol’.

Siobamm

Toronto, Canada-hailing roller derby skater Siobamm used her time during lockdown to write and self-produce her dark pop debut EP, Gloom Patrol. It is easily one of the most promising alt-electronica debuts so far in 2021.

The standout single, Bones, is a feat of darkwave synth-pop that pulls in gothy discordant textures along with the steady downtempo pace of the pulsating basslines, giving Bones a mesmerizingly mellifluous, almost cinematic, feel. If Gloom Patrol was her 10th EP, we’d be impressed. For Siobamm to make a debut with a sound that is polished as it is authentic is something else entirely. Discernibly, the key to Siobamm’s success was ensuring that connectable emotion ran at the surface of her unique sound.

Any fans of Warpaint, Hooverphonic, Portishead and Bjork won’t want to miss out on this stylistically moody synth-pop release.

Check out Siobamm via her website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Vex Message slams the surveillance state with their darkwave earworm, ‘Data Regime’

Vex Message

If you share Vex Message’s hatred of our surveillance state, you’ll definitely want to introduce yourself to the earworm which resides in their latest darkwave post-punk release, ‘Data Regime’.

Vex Message may be fresh on the scene, but founding member, Derek Meins, was formerly part of Rough Trade-signed Eastern Lane, The Famous Poet and The Agitator. They brought all of their rhythmically astute professionalism to Data Regime; an unforgettably catchy hit that allows their enigmatic personality to shine through.

If you could imagine what it would sound like if Peter Murphy embraced his playful side and brought funky gothy grooves into his sound, you’ll get an idea of what is on offer in the danceable mix that will be a hit with any fans of Talking Heads and The Wire.

Data Regime officially released on April 9th. It is available to stream and download via Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Emporers introduce themselves in no uncertain terms with ‘We Are The Emporers’

Emporers

Well, all of a sudden the 1980’s turned up, kicked in the door with a lacy sleeve-cuff and some Adam Ant eyeliner, popped their pixie-booted feet up on the table, and announced their intention to stay with a New Romantic frock-coat thrown firmly onto the back of the sofa. And, with ‘We Are The Emperors’, what an entrance it is; a three-piece electro-pop beaut writ large in gated, reverb-heavy snare beats, chocky guitar, and driving bass.

Drawn together by legendary Killing Joke bassist Martin ‘Youth’ Glover (producer for everyone from Bananarama to Pink Floyd, Edwin Collins, Siousxie and the Banshees, and The Verve), there’s some serious writing skills and musicianship behind the frills and blusher; touches of Pet Shop Boys and Yazoo electronica mixed with Spandau Ballet, Kate Bush, Gary Numan, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and The Human League, but there’s some serious pop sensibilities too – Bananarama, again, Fun Boy Three, Go West, A-Ha, and Duran Duran, for sure. You get the picture – a United Colours of Benetton picture, framed in Black Ash and lit with neon, at the same time bang up to date and spectacular, pop-driven, and absolutely explosive. Make no mistake – there’s a retro-tinged influence here, for sure, but this is no simple regressive homage to the past; it’s cutting edge, stellar, and absolutely right now – with a superb video to match, ‘We Are The Emporers’ is simply a fabulous pop record.

Check out Emporers on Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

RawFall – A Thousand Thoughts: A Stark Aural Portrait of a Disquiet Mind

RawFall’s latest single, A Thousand Thoughts, doesn’t just lyrically play with the concept of disquietude, within the intricate layers of the Darkwave Electronica single, agitation and restlessness reside in the soundscape as a perfect aural depiction of a tumultuously anxiety-ailed mind. That should be anxiety-invoking in itself, but with the consoling yet sonorous vocals, any such emotion will be efficaciously quelled.

With the duo’s influences including everything from Psych to Blues to Alt Electro, there’s a dynamic non-assimilative feel which fleetingly carries reminiscences to Empathy Test and Blue October, but you’ve never heard anything quite like A Thousand Thoughts before. I was beginning to wonder if any Dark Electronica artist had the ability to produce without sounding like a Trent Reznor carbon copy, but RawFall, with their conceptual fraught masterpiece of a single well and truly proved me otherwise.

You can check out A Thousand Thoughts for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast