Synthwave Sunday: Gunship, Dark All Day
we last checked in with the U.K. synthwave outfit. While much of the attention for synthwave artists over the past three years has been given to Perturbator, Carpenter Brut and GosT (and rightly so), Gunship have quietly built themselves into one of the world’s best-known synthwave acts; it’s this band more than any of the former that my non-metal friends have been name-checking of late. While it’s certainly less of the battle vest set that you’re likely to see at a hypothetical Gunship show (I’m not sure they’ve ever played live), make no mistake about it, band founders Dan Haigh Alex Westaway are metal dudes at heart.
Gunship’s new album Dark All Day, which came out yesterday, finds the band in tip-top shape, even better than ever. The songs here are absolute dynamite! The title track, which has racked up over a million YouTube views since it came out over the summer, is a bonafide smash with haunting, ethereal vocals and an unforgettable hook. “When You Grow Up, Your Heart Dies” says all it needs to about the brand of retro nostalgia this kind of music evokes right in the track’s title, but the crowd-sourced video says it all even louder with cameos from some notable celebrities (Wil Wheaton of ST:TNG fame among them!) and Gunship fans across the globe chipping in to recreate their favorite scenes from classic ’80s and ’90s films. Gunship’s sonic palette is especially dense this time around with layer upon layer of retro sounds stacked upon one another and wrapped up in a modern production veneer that makes it all go, pop, bang and sure, why not, even slap. Every song delivers big in the hooks department — every one! — and the moods are consistently melancholy and wistful throughout. Dark All Day is Gunship hitting their stride; this is what it sounds like when a band is fucking killing it.
Dark All Day came out this past Friday, October 5th. Buy it on Bandcamp and stream it below, along with the aforementioned nostalgia trip of a music video, “When You Grow Up, Your Heart Dies.”