With one exception of one track this is the second collection of previously unreleased tracks released by Ninthwave Records, 17 tracks in total are featured from a cross section of styles and acts from the present scene including a track from the new and soon to be released Heaven 17 album 'Before And After', 'Electricity' begins with that track…
Heaven 17 …Like many I was looking forward to hearing this track, but unfortunately its turned out to be nothing more than an extremely disappointing piece of disco, soul pop rather than the expected Electro Pop, its all the more disappointing after their excellent and very impressive previous new album 'Bigger Than America', of course I'm not prepared to judge an album on one track, but after hearing this I will certainly think twice about buying that new album.
Moulin Noir …Another unique track from Andreas Wilkholm with a heavy early-80s touch, least not from Gary Numan (especially with the vocals) and John Foxx with piercing and winding synths and piano work through out this mainly excellent mid-paced track. Good and all as it is, it lacks a good chorus to bring the track itself together and add that final touch.
Fr/Action …A 'Club Mix' of one of the highlights of the excellent album 'Crimes Of The Future', this more dance friendly version rolls along nicely with some great synth work.
Freezepop …An Empire State Human remix of this excellent track from the 'Freezepop Forever' album. Compared to the original this version is more mid-paced with the vocals sounding clearer while ESH have added their own distinct brand of Electro Pop to this excellent remix.
Astromill …Yes, I did briefly have the experience of being stranded in Manchester some years ago while coming back from a Gary Numan concert, but thankfully that situation was quickly sorted out. I know nothing about this female artist, but this surprisingly good up-tempo track is quite close to 90s Pet Shop Boys, all do at times the soaring vocals do sound like Jon Anderson from Yes. Astromill is Sheryl McMillan and she is a solo artist with a forthcoming new album being released on Ninthwave Records.
White Town …An excellent and light mid-paced track from this English solo artist, the track itself recalls Depeche Mode on their 'A Broken Frame' album, but the vocals are somewhat light and empty and fail to stamp their identity on the track itself. Both the music and this excellent track will grab your attention, but there is some work to do with the vocals, the forthcoming new album to be released on Ninthwave later this year will I'm sure give a better idea of what White Town have to offer over the course of an album.
Nukleon …This track originally appeared on the first 'Electricity' compilation, but re-appears here as the version from the debut Nukleon album 'Earth Rising'. This excellent mid-paced track with its vocal similarities to Marc Almond remains both a perfect example of the work of Nukleon and that debut album from one of the more promising American Synth Pop acts.
Cosmicity …A pacey and more club orientated track with vocoder vocals, at times its good with a bouncy edge to it, but for me it clearly lacks something, it starts, it finishes, but may be its more to your liking?
Empire State Human …A good old-fashioned 12" style remix with touches of Kraftwerk, Heaven 17 and the Pet Shop Boys while combining that 80s influence with a modern twist, this excellent track is fully extended to over seven minutes and is a taste of their forthcoming new album 'Urbanism', as a rule every new single released should have a 12" style remix exactly like this, rather than those more Dance orientated remixes that get inflicted upon us.
Masq …Having previously being a one time Gary Numan fanatic this track is one of the more interesting tracks here for me. Masq is another solo artist, Frenchman Mark Trade and this mid-paced track displays some blatantly clear Gary Numan influences, least not with the vocals while parts of the track itself remind me of the Tears For Fears single 'Change' while blending in more early-80s Gary Numan influences. This track should easily please those with an interest and liking for early-Gary Numan rather than the predictable Industrial Metal that Gary now so blindly follows. The forthcoming new album from Masq should make very interesting listening.
Soviet …Having previously had one of their own tracks remixed Freezepop turn the tables and remix this classic Soviet track with their own simple analogue touch while retaining the pace of the original and above all that superb riff while adding a distorted and somewhat distant touch to the vocals to produce an excellent remix on this good old-fashioned floor filler, start clearing the furniture ;-)
Spray …A track that at times seems to be almost half-finished, least not in the first half of the track itself, but picks up pace later on, but then seems to be doing too many things at once. As a track its not as good as much of their 'Living In Neon' album but the familiar semi-spoken female vocals, catchy riffs and hooks are all here and coated in their distinct brand of English pop.
Electrosquad … I'm not familiar with the original version of this track, but it appears here remixed by Ganymede and thankfully so it predictably features their trademark sound and style of Synth Pop on this light-n-bright mid-paced track with nice vocals that fit in well with this excellent pure Synth Pop track.
Macondo …Sparse and simplistic 80s Electro Pop with male/female vocals to match from this English duo with this nice, catchy and bouncy mid-paced slice of typically English Electro Pop. The vocals do tend to be their weak point, but with their brand of Electro Pop and tracks like this they are guaranteed to gain interest within the present Synth Pop scene. Another act that is forcing Electro Pop/Synth Pop back into the shop window in their home country.
Exhibition …One of the very few tracks that I've head from this American duo, seemly they are prone to using guitars but thankfully not on this great track with a more than a hint of Erasure, for me its one of the highlights of this compilation. As a track it builds well to the chorus with some excellent synth work while featuring distant and distorted vocals.
Passion Planet …A solo artist who seemly takes the name Passion Planet from a Thompson Twins b-side, this mainly excellent mid-paced piece of modern Synth Pop has a Pet Shop Boys feel to it while the slightly irritating distorted echo on the vocals somewhat masks the vocal capabilities of Andrew Morley AKA Passion Planet. Despite being an excellent track it does tend to somewhat fall into the same trap as Cosmicity, it starts, it finishes.
Turd Ferguson …Seemly this is a project that involves Mark Nicholas from Cosmicity with his partner. The track itself features the increasingly familiar spoken female vocals with a bouncy bass and quirky synths and comes across as a blend between Cosmicity and Electroclash, which is not surprising. If there is a humorous content to these lyrics, then they have gone right over my head. The track itself is okay, but doesn't really appeal to me, but then again I've paid as much attention to Electroclash as I would do to Heavy Metal, sorry Nu Metal, I'm being so unfashionable again, its listening to all that Synth Pop that does it, 1980 this, 1980 that, oh well :-)
Despite some of the vocal limitations and a number of tracks that could do with that extra touch this is an excellent compilation with a diverse collection of Synth Pop acts and styles too match that in turn offers something for everything.
Artist Link: http://www.ninthwaverecords.com