Retro Pop Revival – Simesky+Fritch, A.b. Violet, National Milk Bar

Simesky+Fritch capture an elusive 80s vibe on their recent smash single Such Imperfection.  A lot of artists have mastered the gated snare and dark chord designs, but Simesky+Fritch nail both the vocal and rhythmic guitar work that’s lost on most retro revivals.  It starts with the synth bass underlayer and the textured palmed guitars they stack on top.  Paired with sharp synths, it only fitting that the vocal should be ripe with passion and emotion.  These vibes should draw immediate comparisons to Tubeway Army, The Cure, and Adam & The Ants.  Where most acts strive for 80s pop, Simesky+Fritch capture the aura of elegant Post Punk. 

Such Imperfection recalls how the artists who founded this sound were originally inspired by the underground movements that lifted acts like Joy Division.  They were bred from the annals of Roxy Music and David Bowie.  They reimagined the synthesizers place in experimental art pop.  

  At the time there was nothing like it, and it’s seldom represented this well.  Simesky+Fritch have captured the era impressively on their new release.  They show an attention to detail and an appreciation for this treasured period.  They dress the sonic design with the tones and textures known to the original sound.  There are infectious production treats littered throughout, like the percussive wood blocks underneath the verse section or the stylish guitar solo that comes out of the mid song chorus.  What’s most striking though, is the songwriting.  They capture the sound without copying it.  A proper retro throwback. 

Enjoy Such Imperfection now on our Best New Synthwave Playlist 

A.b. Violet

A.b. Violet drops a sultry retro pop gem on the emotive Check Your Feelings.  With a smokey, entrancing vocal delivery, her voice draws you into this groovy retro dreamscape.  Like a synth pop harlot she delivers a believable performance.  The lyrical design, delivered in this retro pop style, bring cinematic appeal.  Like a musical montage for your imagination, you’ll find yourself trapped in her poetry as you reimagine your recollective histories.  

  “So stop and take a breath, check your feelings.”  The simple sentiment is painfully relatable.  The artist admits she wrote the song during a difficult period.  Though there’s sadness in its making, the outcome is undeniably sexy and empowering.  It’s as if she used the opportunity to charge her emotional battery and reclaim her confidence.  What we hear is an artist who knows her worth – trapped in a world that keeps challenging her.  The trials of an artist are complicated and trying, its the art that stands true.  Check Your Feelings as a statement owns this duality.  It’s as much a chance to reclaim herself as it is an artistic proclamation of her brilliance. 

The single is retro chill pop at its core, spice with hints of R&B in the vocal melodies, and treated with an easy tone palette and a danceable beat.  It’s dance floor ready but fits just as well on your road trip mixtape.  The vibe should draw comparisons to vintage Madonna.  There’s also an indie pop sensibility that connects with recent breakouts like Kacy Hill and Charlotte Day Wilson.  The retro vibes are undeniable, but there’s crossover potential.  A mainstream movement hooked on 80s vibes should relish in this fresh retro hit.  

Enjoy Check Your Feelings now on our Best New Synthwave Playlist 

National Milk Bar drop an electro pop symposium on their new record Villains In My Head.  The UK duo pack a lot of stylistic intention into this impressive 11 song release.  You’ll be grabbed by singles like Dressed In Leather, which inspire immediate comparisons to Human League and more recent retrowave projects like Bunny X.  Refusing to be bottled in, National Milk Bar immediately pivot on the slow groove inspirational pop of Floodgates.  You’re then immediately grabbed by the classic sensibility of Ten Tonne Truck.  Evidence of post punk inspiration lift this energetic fast paced single.  It’s somewhere between Midnight Oil and Depeche Mode, with an indie sensibility known to Arcade Fire.  

They even drop sentimental ballads with their singles Brittle and Find My Own Way.  What’s most defining is their affinity for retro sound designs and the aura of the 80s.  There are obvious hints littered throughout, but as a songwriting team they are incredibly diverse and eclectic.  This is a proper album in an age of singles.  You can pick up an array of influences mixed in with their own signature touch. 

Very much a working collaboration, the duo compliment eachother .  Sash is a strong lead in her own right, but Chuzz holds his own with strong vocal contributions like on the aforementioned Ten Tonne Truck.  A mix of retro vibes and catchy melodies should fit well in a synthwave scene desperate for better songwriting.  The pair are byproducts of the Welsh Ska Scene.  Having dropped a couple singles working up to the collective release, the new album is a proper pivot into this iconic style.  

The whole album slaps.  Get started with Ten Tonne Truck and Dressed In Leather now on our Best New Synthwave Playlist.

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