I live in a world where ‘synthwave’ appears to be a thing. I’m not sure how this happened; a musical genre seemingly inspired by the soundtracks to 1980s straight to VHS films and other forgotten ‘classics’ (anyone remember the title song for Megaforce by 707? No just me then…) in the same way that they also are inspiring new films like Turbo Kid. And the weird-ass thing is these people would have to be my age to remember this stuff first time round but they’re half my age and less. It’s like some weird Mega City One style-gang thing…
And yet it is also kind of joyous too: Deeply personal, bubbling over with enthusiasm, technicolour, retro-perfection. Hell, it’s also the perfect length to record on one side of a C90 (look it up….)
Anvil Strykez are a one man project from Finland and if they don’t have a permed mullet and wear their casual jackets with collar turned up and sleeves pushed past the elbows I’ll be disappointed.
This opens with ‘Neon Streets’ which is like some weirdly spot on revision of the themes from Streethawk, The Equalizer and Knight Rider. From the vocoder voice to the plinking synths and waves of sound with huge melodic guitar breaks this is actually as good anything from then. Really. Close your eyes as the earworm hook sinks in and you will see the stoic, taciturn hero, backlit, dry ice billowing around them as the camera pans around a dark city street glistening with water. Oh my grin hurtz (sorry…)
‘Exterminators’ actually sounds a little darkwave, a bit VNV Nation. Heavy with dialogue samples. ‘Cobra’ has a strange Oriental twist to the keyboards before the camera rise to let the cityscape unfurl. Yeah, this is cinematic, Blue Thunder cruising and hunting in whisper mode. ‘Metropolis’ could either be the long fade out end credits or the reflective moment before the battle when hero gets the girl (it was the 80s, outside of (the glorious) Sybil Danning you didn’t really get female action heroines). Great vocals, perfect US style radio rock; think that bodybuilder saxophonist band in The Lost Boys. ‘High Speed Cyborgs’? Well what can you say? A little touch of John Carpenter heavily mixed with Anvil Strykes trademark scampering synth sound and guitar riff. ‘Night Blades’? Dark, sharp, brooding. ‘Voyager And The Birth Of Time’? Bombastic eleven minutes of closing credits and I have to return from the primary colour cascade of the 80s to this helluva place. But I’ll be back.
Sounds from my teenage VHS days, beautifully perfectly captured by a guy who probably wasn’t even conceived then. Somehow kind of life affirming and glorious.
Rock on, rock out, dude.