Careful, the sophomore album from Massachsetts duo Boy Harsher, is full of ominous, brooding electro pop that plays heavily on 80s infuences – to great effect.
The relentless single tone synth bass that pervades across this album reeks of 80s sci-fi horror movies and anyone who’s been enjoying Stranger Things will find the musical style appearing here instantly recognisable.
The vocals of Jae Matthews provide and ethereal backdrop to the sense of foreboding delivered by Augustus Muller’s keyboards. Some tracks are all about creating a sense of dystopia, such as opener Keep Driving, Crush and Careful, which could easily have come from the mind of David Lynch.
However the album has pop firmly at its heart, with tracks such as Face the Fire, Tears, and LA drawing on influences such as early Depeche Mode and even the Pet Shop Boys.
Closer was a strong contender for my album of the week, but what probably took it out of the running was that, while hugely enjoyable, as you delve deeper into the album all the tracks start to blend into one. Bar the occasional trip into weirdness, most of the tracks are relatively interchangeable.
This album will be one that would work well when added to a shuffled playlist. It’s great to hear one of the tracks pop up when you’re not expecting it, but playing through the whole album can start to feel like a bit of a chore.
A varied bag during June with some new artists, some bringing back styles of days gone by and the reemergence of some old stalwarts.
First to Mike Shinoda. The Linkin Park rapper has put on tape what is essentially his grieving process following the suicide of former bandmate Chester Bennington. It’s raw to listen to at times but the emotion gives it a real depth that is often missing in this genre.
Floex and Tom Hodge‘s mix of orchestral beauty and electronica would be the top album of fused styles this month, if it wasn’t for the release of the third album from my favourite gospel/death metal crossover act Zeal & Ardor. Stranger Fruit perhaps doesn’t reach the heights of it’s predecessor but is still a mighty impressive set of songs.
Here Lies Man’s second album once again revives the afrobeat-meets-Black-Sabbath vibe to great effect while Sink Ya Teeth draw heavily on 80’s synth-pop on their debut album.
My top album of the month though is one of my perennial favourites. The Orb was the act that got me into electronic music in the first place. Alex Patterson has, in the past, tended to drift into meandering prog-style twiddling interspersed with dub-electronica. Fortunately No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds is a tight collection of house-dub that would be at home in a club – or at least during the late night opening of a micro-brewery.