We were drawn to the classic retro appeal of After, the new album from Before After Again. The collaboration of Jason Whitcomb and Kevin Hartnell is rooted in the dark post punk aura known to 80s icons like The Cure and Depeche Mode. Whitcomb and Hartnell upgrade these vibes with a vibrant modern sonic design, pulling from a vast arsenal of textured synths.
The undeniable 80s influence should please fans of synthwave and dark wave still obsessed with the soundscapes known to our favorite decade. Before After Again push through the crowd with prolific songwriting that’s both original and thoughtful. Their ability as masterful arrangers is heard on the opening Madtown, as every sonic contribution lends itself to support the composition without overwhelming the auditory space. They flex their eclectic diversity on the subsequent Night Gone and then adapt even more retro pop on Sweet Candy.
As the record evolves though the atmospheric Not to Speak, the duo reveals the albums collective intention. After (the album) is a complete offering, honoring the history of the classic album. Slightly conceptual, but mainly just not a repetition of itself. Before After Again always stay within a stylistic framework that hovers around a post punk ethos, but they tap into a variety of iterations that splintered out of that scene. Hints of dark wave and synth pop are littered throughout, all dipped in the glorious waters of nostalgia.
The whole album delivers front to back. Get started with the opener Madtown now on or Best New Synthwave Playlist.
Sebastian Clarin reveals dark dreamy electro pop with nostalgic flavor on their recent High Blood Treasure. The harmonic presence of the building ambient intro gives way to a classic pumping synth bass. Clarin has plenty of variation and progression in his writing to hold our attention, but it was the emotive vocal that captivated us. Stylistically known to post punk with a subtle hint of Michale Hutchence of INXS, Clarin’s delivery is both tortured and sexy. There’s an emotional hush, a sacrifice to every lyrical reveal. The phrases are elegantly spaced out in the spirit of Billy Idol, as Clarin drips with comparable style, letting every line soak into the listener.
Clarin has grabbed the attention of the synthwave community as he works towards the release of his debut album Aerial Cuts. He is currently being featured on several prominent synthwave playlists, and he’s a solid addition to that scene. With a dark and dreamy design he could also connect with darkwave fans who occasionally wander into the world of pop. Fans of synthwave acts like Trevor Something should connect with his song based dark electro aesthetic. With catchy sexy appeal, High Blood Treasure has crossover potential. It would be a sexy dance floor magnet with a dark flavor that brings out the devil’s intention. We found it to be gothic and sexy.
See for yourself, hear High Blood Treasure now on our Best New Synthwave Playlist.
TRYHARD is instantly catchy with their new single Taxi. Connecting with recent releases in modern pop that suggest heavy 80s influence, there’s an indie sensibility to Taxi. It’s heard in both the vocal writing as well as some of the production pickup cues. TRYHARD employs various versions of the classic “drop,” as the verse and bridge sections temper down the drums before reintroducing them with every chorus section. The result is epic. Taxi is an uplifting synth pop gem with retrowave appeal. It could appeal to fans of indie pop acts like CHVCHES as well as fans of synthwave projects like FM-84.
The Melbourne based artist knew something was special about Taxi when he started hearing about a leaked version being played at local parties. With an affinity for storytelling in the vein of Taylor Swift, Taxi connects with a young generation eager for narratives that connect with their new collective experience. A retro sonic palette was the perfect template for Taxi’s story recalling the exhilaration of a spontaneous late-night dalliance, set amongst the familiar backdrop of highways, drive-thrus, and backseats. It’s the proper soundtrack for your next spontaneous adventure.
Enjoy Taxi now on our Best New Synthwave Playlist.