I’d be the first to admit i don’t really have my finger on the pulse when it comes to the newest releases, so it’s nice to have picked up on something in the first week for a change!
Released on Tuesday, Synth City is the third album from synthwave artist Dana Jean Pheonix. Though the old adage may advise against judging a piece of art by its cover design, the image of a highly stylised Pheonix standing proud against a back drop of palmtrees found here is indicative of the sharply produced, synth-led grooves that lay within.
Kicking things off with a sympathetic and exhilarating cover of the Arthur Baker-penned Freez track I.O.U, the album has an intensity that never really lets up. Though there’s always a risk of a momentum drop when an album has such a strong opener, it’s a real testament to Pheonix’s skill as a songwriter that the tracks that immediately follow this classic are capable of repeatedly surpassing such a high bar.
Combining witty lyrics with distinct melody lines and stylised arrangements that could so easily be from some long-forgotten 80’s film if it wasn’t for the less-stylised modern production, Pheonix easily manages to evade traps which snare less distinctive synthwave artists.In particular, her choices of production partners on the album (including The Northern Lights and Robots With Rayguns,) mean that the songs on Synth City all retain a consistent summery feel, but all have enough individuality to avoid the record becoming too stale or predictable.
With summer hopefully just around the corner Synth City is most definitely a welcome release. Why don’t you check it out on Dana Jean Pheonix’s bandcamp page? (Or below, if you’re feeling lazy)