I’m not sure what I expected from this album, but it certainly wasn’t the energetic burst of sound which introduces the first track. So rarely does an album grab my interest within the first thirty seconds.
It’s dancier than I anticipated from the description of ‘indie electronic pop’, but in a very welcome way, and as the vocals come in, at once providing contrast to, and mellowing of the instrumentals, it’s entirely clear that I’m going to enjoy listening to this.
There’s an obvious wealth of influences here, and a sense of familiarity, but not. A passing reminder of something here, another there, and a healthy dose of something new entirely. Throughout, I’ve had a faint niggling of ‘have I heard this before’, and not in the sense of it sounding like a cover or a copy, but simply in the fact that there are many layers of musical style going on – probably some of which ‘shouldn’t’ work together at all, but The Mystic Underground are making them work, and it’s this familiar yet unfamiliar sound throughout the album which not only secures attention from the very first note, but retains it until the very end.
Darkly dancy at times, more chilled out maudlin at others – in places there’s even an almost Bauhaus-like edge to the sound. Certainly there are the core influences from classic eighties electronica, but this is far from yet another tired carbon copy of a thirty year old template. There’s at least a couple of tracks which more closely remind me of modern synthpop along the lines of Beborn Beton, Diorama, Hendric de la Couer – but again nothing overt. Its abundantly clear that the overall sound going on is rich and varied, and one all of their own.
Track to track, the sound shifts from very clear eighties influences – War of the Roses in particular has a distinctive post-punk feel to it – to a more up to date edge, with the poppier beats of Future in Film contrasting perfectly with the slightly melancholic vocals. This album certainly keeps you on your toes from beginning to end.