Synthwave Sunday: Deadlife’s Bionic Chrysalis Makes a Bid For Best Synthwave Album of the Year
With all due respect to Perturbator and Dan Terminus, both of whom released excellent new albums this year — as well as Gost, who released a banger in late 2016, and Carpenter Brut, who are long overdue for 2015’s genre-defining Trilogy — there’s a veritable new challenger in town for the king of dark synthwave: Deadlife.
Start with “Deviant,” the second track on the Marseille, France one-man act Deadlife’s Lazerdiscs Records debut, and you’ll immediately get it: the track is a bonafide club smash. It deftly combines the hard-edged beats and tones of everything we love so much about dark synthwave’s above-referenced “Big Four” but with a sonic palette that’s distinctly techno, at times verging on chiptune. The result is both massively heavy and imminently danceable, with songs that are written with graft-ready hooks and nuanced melody lines and arragements full of masterful song-craft finesse.
The rest of Bionic Chrysalis offers more of the same and then some. Keyboard lines that hark back to “Rhythm is a Dancer” butt right up against mosh-ready club beats. Horror film soundtrack sound effects weave seamlessly between ethereal melody lines. The requisite slower tracks let off the gas pedal just enough to keep the momentum going. And all of it exists within the framework of very, very, deep hooks… very deep, everybody’s saying it, you won’t believe it! Who knew there were so many hooks?
Bionic Chrysalis is out now; buy it at Bandcamp and stream it below.