With London synth duo New Arcades dropping their debut album this month, it’s hard to imagine they were releasing vocal Synthwave before the likes of The Midnight, Gunship and FM-84.
Returning Home – produced by New Arcades and Outland and mastered by Pete Maher – follows the release of the two singles Solace and Into The Unknown. Both set the tone for an album that marries purist instrumental synthwave to sweeping vocal dreampop. The debut never strays far from the lush cinematic soundscapes New Arcades have come to be known for, but as a whole remains an utterly coherent and convincing 10-track journey through contemporary synth & retrowave.
1.In The Movies
2. Into The Unknown
3. If Only You Could See
5. Now And Forever
7. Another Night
8. Clean Break
9. All I See
10. Returning Home
As if to prepare one for what is to come, In The Movies sets and announces the tone of the album like the Trumpets of Jericho - Atmospheric synths embellished with a meditative melody, lay the foundation for a contemplative album which is both nostalgic and inspiring.
Into The Unknown is a synthwave love letter; an ode to the romantic in all of us. Allow the gorgeous melody and synthesised heartbeat to inspire you to face anything…take your lover’s hand, and step into the unknown.
Punchy and powerful, If Only You Could See is an electronic anthem exploring the geometries of the very structure of the Universe. Get comfortable, headphones on, eyes closed and let your consciousness be projected into mysterious realms that can only be experienced with an astronaut’s recital of Pi.
For anyone who has had their heart broken, Further is a synthesised friend from the neon realms - arriving to both inspire and encourage you. Let the ethereal melody envelope and transport you.
Now And Forever bursts forth from a tear in space-time, pulling you into a journey back into a future, vaguely familiar, yet completing alien. An energetic synthwave ballad if there ever was one.
Solace is the power anthem of the album and a fitting lead single with cyberpunk roots. You are the hero, traversing multiple dimensions on the hero’s journey.
Another Night is an assertive and upbeat future pop hit coming right out of the 80’s. With an atmospheric and somewhat nostalgic bass arpeggio and back beat (Hall and Oates perhaps?), complimented by dreamy electric guitar riffs, this tune takes you right back to 1984 in the best possible way.
Clean Break: Love lost, love found…back to High School. First love. This song features on the mixtape playing through your bright yellow Sony Sports Walkman - another synthwave romantics classic.
All I See is a startlingly beautiful and melodic synthesized composition that appears to take New Arcades right out of their comfort zone. It’s honest, unpretentious and innocent, with a touch of sadness and yet powerfully courageous. Could this be the break-away classic of the album?
As this unforgettable Synthscape journey comes to an end, leave it to the album’s title track - this inspiring anthem with its ethereal vocals - to bring us safely back home.
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