Someone recreated 1980’s electropop on VHS in 2020.
There is something unabashedly retro about David Thompson’s ‘The Wall’ that I really got behind. The electropop artist clearly is inspired by a bit of new wave, tech noir and seedy synthpop. There is a hint of Soft Cell, Talking Heads and Kraftwerk running through the whole thing David Thompson embraces it. As a result, if you enjoy the current synth wave revival of all things 80’s, you’ll be right at home here.
David’s voice does have a mild Marc Almond quality to it crossed with the cleanness of Christopher Cross. Occasionally he doubles his voice up like he is evoking Phil Collins too which may be the ultimate test of marmite! The opening three songs on the EP are heavily synthpop focused. The lead melodic synths often sound like they are being run through a VHS filter and they chop in and out with a warm warp to them. Underneath tight and tinny drum loops go to town against thick syrupy basslines in the superb opener ‘Time’ or pulsating rhythmic basslines such as title track ‘The Wall’.
David Thompson then moves tact a little bringing in guitars for a more Phil Collins-esque ‘This Goon Can’t’ that is as chilled as it is barren. These guitars then move into pure acoustic psyche-rock for ‘Claire’. Retro production tries to throw everything back to the 60’s and 70’s for the trippy number which is great but feels very much the odd track out in the EP. ‘Obsession’ then closes the EP out with the most Kraftwerk track on the record. The synth runs are tight, taut and purposely clashing against each other in a slightly detuned manner. It suits the lyrics perfectly and is the EP’s dance track for the crazed. Think ‘The Cure’ on helium.
Retro by design, there are some excellent tracks here. The production has a homemade feel to it which is a blessing and a mild annoyance as the drums peak the recording and distort slightly on some tracks. It weirdly works as a design choice but I do think the songs would benefit from a bit of an audio clean up. This is one case where the VHS hue of low-fi production mildly hindered what were some blinding melodies. If you love that feel though, bump the score up one. Colour me intrigued for future David Thompson releases though, there is something here definitely well worth seeking out.
Recommended track: Time
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