Sunday 7 November 2021

Days of Electropop

Feels like it's been a long time since I did my last Bandcamp Friday roundup post, I already had an idea of what I was gonna pickup for this one so it wasn't too much of a scramble to find somethings to get this time around. As the title says, this time I took a deep dive into the world of synth/electropop - every so often I'll get the itch (normally after revisiting some of my favourites like Röyksopp's Junior), and I took this opportunity to fully indulge.

Albrecht Behmel - Singer (2015)

Starting off with Freezepop again. I did mention this album not too long ago, but I ended up scooping it again digitally on Bandcamp as it came with some nifty bonus tracks, and Freezepop do a lovely thing where they include a PDF of the liner notes which I really appreciate. I'm going to echo what I said last time in that this album is markedly more mature sounding than the twee electroclash of earlier Freezepop (which isn't a criticism, long time readers will know I am an absolute fiend for kitschy electroclash of all kinds). That said, it still has it's moments that recall that slightly tongue-in-cheek sound of old, most prominent on Lose That Boy - it not only has that spoken-word style delivery of the Electroclash days but also features cheeky asides like "And not to be shallow or anything, but you are way cuter than him too" at the end of the second verse and "In all fairness, maybe you're a crappy girlfriend too. I don't know, I just met you" at the very end, which is a cute little bit of nostalgia.

Where the album really shines though is on those more contemporary tracks. Very much in the vein of Junior as mentioned in the opening lines, it's a very poppy approach that was in fashion at the time, one that I hoped would leak its way onto the radio what with the popularity of La Roux and company at the time. And that's really most of this album in a nutshell: it's full of great wordplay as most Freezepop releases are, backed with some real catchy melodies and I am very much back in love with it at the moment. It's been tricky to pick just one tune from here to summarise it, but I think Strange does a fantastic job - I could live in that chorus forever.

What would a list like this be without some Au Revior Simone? They always seem to appear whenever I take a trip into this sound, but their place is well deserved. After singing the praises of Move In Spectrums for so long I figured I'd jump back a little for this one. Still Night, Still Light still has some of the indie/folky trappings of their earlier work, but having said that the electronics have always been a constant, just be aware that this album is distinctly less electronic than Spectrums. My favourite feature of Au Revior Simone tracks is how they often feel very... DIY, for want of a better term - skeletal keyboards and plastic drums give the proceedings this cosy, indie feel. And that is very much on show here with Knight Of Wands, which I fell madly in love with years ago upon hearing those delicious pitch bends introduced around the 55 second mark.

It's been quite a while since we've heard anything from the Simone gals - they haven't released a full length since 2013 (14 if you count the remix album of Spectrums), but they did put out some solo singles on their Bandcamp in 2020, including a studio version for one of the tracks they performed on the Twin Peaks reboot, so there may still be hope yet. I'd love to have some more new material from them but I also know you can't force these things either. Until then, there's plenty to listen to as-is.

And finally, an addition that's been a long time coming - Young Ejecta (Formerly known as just Ejecta). I first found Young Ejecta when I went looking up Joel Ford when writing a post about Ford & Lopatin's Channel Pressure album (Ford & Lopatin also previously known as Games) and found it listed among the groups he's in alongside Leanne Macomber.

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect going in, Joel Ford has dabbled in many genres over the years, from the 80's inspired synthpop of the Ford & Lopatin project, to the full-on Vaporwave of the predecessor Games, even at times venturing into proper house territory. Dominae, the first album from (Young) Ejecta dwells in much the same space as the previous tracks in this post though in that it's straight up synthpop. Don't be put off by the cover, all of the covers for Ejecta releases feature a nude Leanne Macomber, Dominae is probably the safest of them all though - the sound isn't hard or edgy like the covers would suggest though. Leanne's soft vocals throughout make for a slightly dreamier experience than the other examples I've posted here, and once again it was hard to pick just one track to summarise the experience. After much back and forth I decided to go for the opening track Mistress, not only because it's a great intro tune but I think it nicely encapsulates the whole album. At the risk of sounding cliché, if you like the sound of this one you could happily pick up the rest of Dominae and not be disappointed. It's lovely and I plan on adding the rest of their releases to my collection soon enough.

And that'll be all for today, I've thoroughly enjoyed my dive back into the world of this sound, and I hope you have too. Each of these albums I've picked are all from around the early 10's which doesn't sound too far away but is fast approaching nearly 10 years ago which will never fail to rattle me a little. Still, I enjoy them quite a lot, part of me will always have an affinity for this sound that I like to treat myself to from time to time. I'll be back soon enough with more words and music for you all but until then - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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