A depression you can dance to.
Retrowave. Synthwave. Dreamwave. ALL of the waves. There are lots of subgenres that all bleed into each other when you think about synth based music. Trevor Something can fit into all of these and more but I really like his own description of darksynth. It merges together his mood and his instrument of choice and makes it clear that you can cry and dance at the same time.
The beauty of ‘Microwaves’, his new album, is that each track feels like it could score an 80’s action movie, a sci-fi thriller and a gothic ritual all at the same time. Each track deals with altered states lyrically and often sonically too. ‘You Are My Obsession’ kicks off with the thick synths and lyrical gold like ‘Time is a recession’. This kind of oppressive but utterly danceable throwback to the 80’s carries on throughout the album. There is more than a hint of Pet Shop Boys but there is so much else going on too.
‘False Reality’ has a chugging bassline that feels like its a chase sequence in an action thriller. ‘Do It To Me’ uses celestial keys and rubbery synths to evoke a dreamy gym music routine. All that is missing is the garish leotards and Alice bands. ‘Living To Die’ straddles the two sides of the dreamy and the dark so that you can feel the edges of life and death in the music. Trevor Something always creates music that pulses (both rhythmically and in volume too) and so his music feels like a zombie hoard forever marching forward devoid of thought.
This undead hoard approach is personified in ‘No One Cares’. Trevor sings like a disembodied computer as he uses vocoder layers over his voice. It works so well and is a huge part of why everything sounds so dark and gloomy. This continues into the bass-heavy ‘You’re So Ugly’. Here the bass detunes itself in its loop and the handclap synth gives most of the higher frequency sounds on the track. It is one you’ll feel reverb in your bones. This all leads towards the climactic and dramatic ‘Playin’ Me’ which launches big post-apocalyptic synths, vocals and codas that soar after all that pent up tension and brooding anger. The album then closes with the dreamy ‘Reverse The Ghost (Your Obsession)’. It is like a creepy lullaby and its repetition and hazy delivery return us to that undead hoard again. Forever. Pulsing. Forward.
Trevor Something really knows how to work these dense, taut and oppressive synths into something really marvellous. Everything here is danceable. Everything here is also super depressing and could be classed as chill out too. The beauty is you can work it into whatever you are feeling at the time and still be right. ‘Microwaves’ is an excellent album and one that I hope goes onto many peoples rotation.
Recommended track: You Are My Obsession
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