Thursday, December 5, 2013
By RICK JOHNSON
A strange but enticing blend of the technological and the organic, Sunset Hearts' latest EP, "Deco Tech," is hard to pin down stylistically.
HOW IT RATES
SUNSET HEARTS -- "DECO TECH"
Based on a four-star scale
It's a complex blend of musical flavors, with ingredients assembled from three decades worth of electronic pop music.
Fortunately, the blend is so rich that a broad range of music fans will find something to chew on, regardless of personal preference.
Echoes of the 1980s dominate the record, most notably in the prominent use of keyboards and the plaintively sung vocals.
The EP opens with the melodic keyboards of "Fantasy Rejection," with synth washes and female backing vocals adding a touch of drama. As the track builds in intensity and fades to a quiet close, one can't help but think of dozens of '80s teen films, and just about any one of the tracks on "Deco Tech" would fit perfectly on the soundtracks to those films.
"Horsie Forces" sounds like a great lost New Order tune circa '86. It's danceable, but wistful at the same time.
The vocals are similar to many of the British New Romantic acts of the mid-'80s, a sort of cross between Psychedelic Furs, Spandau Ballet and the aforementioned New Order.
However, one should not get the impression that this is strictly a retro affair. Subtle nods to genres as disparate as chill, ambient and even a little industrial are all on display here.
"Too Wet to Pet" is a propulsive post-punk dance floor anthem, guitars add muscle to "Ask Away," and the melancholic drone of "Past Lives" should please any goth fan.
Sunset Hearts have taken the best parts of '80s pop, added intriguing bits of '90s alternative with a dash of 21st-century technology to create something truly unique.
Whether you're in the mood to dance, dream or brood, or you just want to take a nostalgic trip with a thoroughly modern spin, you can't go wrong with Sunset Hearts.
Download all five tracks (plus 2 bonus remixes) for $4 at sunsethearts.bandcamp.com.
Rick Johnson is a freelance writer and radio host from Westbrook. He can be reached at: