CHILLED SYNTH BLISS - TREVOR SOMETHING DROPS A GEM
TREVOR SOMETHING - SYNTHETIC LOVE - REVIEW
It’s been a month or so since Trevor Something dropped his highly-anticipated and we are excited to finally get around to reviewing it here on NewRetroWave. Right from the album’s intro Trevor Something drops where he comes from and what he is trying to achieve with the nostalgic sound of loading a tape into a recorder.
And seriously, you might easily mistake this release for something that hails from the days of cassettes and heavy eye shadow. The mood that prevails throughout the album is that of melancholic, droning vocals awash in a deluge of analog synths and pulsating bass.
At times sounding alternately like Pet Shop Boys on quaaludes and Depeche Mode in their prime, there is still a clear chillwave trademark present throughout the album’s tracks. Most of the songs are sung in what seems to be a quartal harmony which gives that slightly dissonant effect. In the end, the impression is less “Miami” as much as “80s UK New Wave”.
Lyrically, most of the tracks cover the wistful territory of fleeting encounters and haunting romantic feelings. As such it goes really hand in hand with the above-mentioned droning vocals. And the arrangements really focus on the voice punctuated only by the drum machine and ethereal synth background.
And while the marriage of these elements is quite happy, the overall finish is not quite as varied and top-notch as some other staples in the vocal synthwave subgenre (if you will) such as Tesla Boy’s debut album. Some tracks seem simply just like rearrangements of the previous ones.
Anyway, the album still manages to produce some outstanding tracks, and there’s a chance you might have heard them in the months leading up to the release as they were also dropped as singles.
The third track on the album was already released as a single in December last year and as soon as you hear it, it’s single qualities become obvious. Low-tempo beat, lush chord progression that just ooze longing and unrequited love, it’s all here. First track on the album you might find yourself humming as you’re obsessively hitting refresh on NewRetroWave’s Facebook page.
LOVE YOU AGAIN
Love You Again is perhaps the most atypical track of the album and while I found it veers a little bit too much into the area of Usher-like r’n’b it definitely deserves a mention. For once Trevor is exchanging the guise of the forlorn lover for a suave, sex-hungry bad ass motherfucker who just wants to “fuck her again, fuck her again”. Yes, children, explicit lyrics are name of the game on this tracks which might come as surprising but goes well with Trevor’s persona of a drug-loving swinging ladies’ man.
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU
A truly danceable track, Something About You features a truly bitching bassline and a nice breathy and echoey vocal styling. It’s good to hear Trevor totally head over heels about this mysterious girl - probably wearing a tight glittery dress and ruffled fiery big hair - and I actually wished the song was a little longer in the end. The 16-bit Remix of this track is really fun and wholly recommended (for just $1.50 on his Bandcamp it’s a steal).
A really cool, chilled track to close the album with, this one includes a nice choir of robotic voices singing about the, well, synthetic love. Whether or not they like it is unclear but it’s all about the mood anyway. Keeping the structure quite simple, Trevor forgoes most of percussions for a focus on the harmonies and creating an almost hymnic feeling.
Final verdict? Like its name, Synthetic Love - although it actually manages to innovate synthwave at times - seems almost a little bit too synthetic at times (mostly due to the vocals). Above all, serves as a nice ID card for Trevor Something and helps to flesh out the mythos of this OD’d 80s musician that came from the dead.
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