Best New Synthwave – Architrave, sydneyunicorns, Friday Night Firefight, Super Drift

Future Ruins is the new record from upstate New York duo Architrave, featuring Jennifer Maher Coleman and Paul Coleman. The 10 song L.P. takes the project in a new, innovative direction filled with luscious soundscapes, infectious bass-lines, and complex beats.

  On their single Humble and Good, they channel the spirit of The Cure and New Order. The bass holds down the foundation of the chord arrangement, and soft pads and sharp synths intersect in variable melodies.  Singer Jennifer sings with confidence and conviction, and her low tenor draws comparisons to Kate Bush and Annie Lennox.  

Architrave also cites The XX as an influence, and the bare arrangement of Humble and Good reflects the minimalist aesthetic, but with tones and textures more relative to the burgeoning synthwave sound.  

  Architrave brings a fresh slightly gothic take to female fronted nostalgic 80s inspired dark synth pop.  It’s more dark nail polish and black eyeshadow than glitter and blush vibe – and we are here for it! 

Hear Humble and Good now on our Best New Indie Synthwave playlist.  


Songwriter and producer sydneyunicorns shines on the anthemic Crown.  The track is a master class in synth based experimental electronic pop, a testament to the artists training as a classical musician.  It’s loaded with interesting staggering rhythms and shimmering synths mixed with the sonic dark indie appeal of artists like St Vincent and Grimes.  The song itself has retro sensibility with lyrical cadence reminiscent of classic Madonna and early 90s R&B and dance pop.  Sydneyunicorns sings with a pleading passion, and the artist admits that the song represents that feeling when you see someone with that “it” factor, and it inspires you to reach their level. 

Beneath the admiration, this writer feels a bit of envy and frustration from Sydney.  Like Golem, she admires the Crown, and is faithful to the one who bears its weight, but she hopes herself to one day also hold its power.  As they say, the King dies alone, and as they lay dying the nobles of the court all pine for power in the shadows.  Sydney knows how to use modern techniques to lift her emotion, bending her vocal in distorted expression as the frustration of the singer explodes out of the speakers.  

  The Crown is as much a tribute as it is commentary on the current state of affairs in our naked world, where every piece of you is under the microscope, and those who fit the perception of perfection are dually admired and despised.  It brings the spirit of riot girl rock to the synth genre.  Sydney is untethered, wild and exploding with energy like a liberated warrior. 

Dial in and rage to The Crown, now on our Best New Indie Synthwave playlist.

Friday Night Firefight

UK artists Friday Night Firefight have carved out a niche for themselves in the synthwave scene.  A flagship artist on popular Aztec Records, they are known for upbeat anthemic pop meant for the best moments of the night. 

They bring a unique twist with a notable influence of pop punk, it seeps into their vocal delivery and how they hit their chorus sections.  Its an interesting take on retrofuturism, blending the sounds of that era in a modern day package.  They might not remain synthwave darlings for long, with bangers like their recent Ghost, their fun alt-pop feel could crossover into the mainstream.  It screams with summer hit potential.  The power of this chorus cannot be ignored.  It hits you like an ecstatic wave of youth and energy that begs you to get up and dance.  Its an alternative to the slow-wave synthwave scene often caught in the downbeat dumdrums of Trevor Somethings and dark pop sad boys. 

Friday Night Firefight is closer to the feel good aesthetic of top tiers The Midnight and Michael Oakley, but even more captivating in their affinity for energetic pop that grabs you.  Tune in and hold on, Ghost is going to pull you in and never put you down. 

Hear it now on our Best New Indie Synthwave playlist.  

Grab your roller skates and cruise to the feel good groove of the new Super Drift single, La Mer.  Some tunes just call for neon sunsets and sexy poolside hangs.  Beneath these classic synthwave vibes, La Mer is a sophisticated pop song with intelligent variation in how the chorus contrasts the verse section.  Together they fit seemlessy, and the contrast of the two sections really keeps your attention. 

This is producer Super Drift’s first release with vocals, and Maisie May has the combination of soft and powerful seen from Indies like Phoebe Bridgers.  Brought into the synth wave setting, the combination is intoxicating.  It harkens back to Synthwave classics like Floret De Vin and the early days of New Retro Wave, and embraces an authenticity to the movement less seen in recent years. 

  Super Drift packages La Mer with a crisp and clean pop style mix.  The finish is well balanced and soothing.

  This is the first in what we expect to be a plethora of exciting Super Drift collabs to come.  He acknowledges that he is always looking for “interesting vocalists to lift his songs.”  Currently flying under the radar, it’s only a matter a time before the secret gets out.  Singles this good can’t go unnoticed for long, and this release is just as good as anything out of the synthwave scene in 2021.

Hear La Mer now on our Best New Indie Synthwave playlist.


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