FM Attack - Stellar
After four long years the synthwave vanguard FM Attack is back with his third album, “Stellar” - a truly out-of-this-world release!
FM Attack, aka Shawn Ward, is a Vancouver native Mexico transplant. With his first release “Dreamatic” hitting the net way back in 2009, FM Attack is known for being a relatively early synthwave pioneer - and a damn good one at that. Having preceded the “Drive” driven synthwave boom, he thankfully did not outrun it, (heh) and picked up even more fans as he gained notoriety as one of the sonic inspirations to the film.
Since his last album “Déjà vu,” released in 2013, he’s been touring, landing a remix in the television show “Red Oaks” and even having a baby daughter named Stella – a new source of inspiration to whom this new album “Stellar” is dedicated and named after.
With so much changing in his personal life it should come as no surprise that with the release of “Stellar,” his sound has changed too. While his previous albums drew heavily from disco and had a more upbeat and dance feel, “Stellar” is steeped in postpunk and new wave vibes. This updated sound is unique and fantastic, creating a more wistful and nostalgic feel to the signature FM Attack sound.
The mix of these genres is pulled off flawlessly, from the vocals to the longing guitar merging with synths in “Oceans Apart.” Early 80’s postpunk and new wave mixed with the dreamy synthwave of FM Attack seems to help the melodies land in a more iconic fashion – less likely feel strained or gimmicky. “Stellar” is by far the most mature FM Attack release to date, having cultivated a beautiful unique new sound that is sure to influence artists in the years to come. An instant classic.
Part of this superb sound comes the fact that FM Attack used primarily vintage gear to create “Stellar.” In an interview with Vehlinggo, Ward related the difficulties of working with the 40 year old gear - learning to solder repair synths definitely added production time. Ward explained, “… I wanted to keep it as original as possible, while keeping a nostalgic feeling, using all vintage gear and old-school production techniques.” Time well spent!
Go grab a listen to this album whenever you get the chance. It has all the grandeur of older FM Attack synth with an satisfying and original post-punk/new wave sound. Top Tracks: “Echoes,” “Inner Space(feat. Mnynms),” “Oceans Apart” and “Stella.”