As popular music trends come and go, I truly hope the 80s pop beats and synths fad is here to stay because we can finally appreciate music techniques that was deemed as tacky and outdated for so long. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard a band take advantage of the iconic 80s pop sound, the era in which I dare call the pop music renaissance, as much as Ice Choir. While their earlier albums like Afar and Pure Holiday were much ahead of their time with strictly this sound style, 2016’s Designs In Rhythms is setting the bar high for any band that is trying to recreate that pure 80s sound.
Designs In Rhythm, while pure synth pop, has a very distinctive sound as we can tell Ice Choir is trying to grab a hold of the indie-electronic/vaporwave crowd. A prime example of that is their first single on the album that they prereleased in August, “Unprepared.” With a catchy synth bass line and lead singer Kurt Feldman’s dreamy and reverbed voice, it definitely has a Macintosh Plus kind of feel, while still staying in a very structured pop song kind of style. Definitely one of my favorite tracks, as the band really knows how to utilize crescendos and drops without sounding over-the-top.
Songs like “Amorous In Your Absence” and “Windsurf” definitely have an early 80s gamer feel with perhaps an unintentional nod to chiptune style. The band finds a very happy medium between a dated and progressive style in songs like these while using antiqued synth sounds in a more innovative structure and quality.
My only qualm with the album is that when using such a specific style and sound. Listeners might get bored with its redundancy, however as subjective as this might be, I could listen to this kind of music for hours on end. Definitely worth checking out regardless, you can find the entire album on soundcloud to listen to for free! If you think you’d be into a blend of The 1975 and Carly Rae Jepsen beats dipped in heavy electronic vaporwave music, I recommend you give Ice Choir and their newest album Design In Rhythm a try.
Tracks to listen to: Unprepared, Designs in Rhythm , Comfortable